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THE GIANT-KILLER: 



aji gattlt toliclj %\l musf Hs^t. 




LONDON; 
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW 



^ro rv - 8 9 - 





^Y design in writing this little volume has been 
to induce the thoughtless child to think; and 
^ for this purpose the form of allegory has long 
been deemed suitable by those in whose foot- 
steps I would humbly endeavour to tread. 
The powers of the mind are roused to energy by the 
effort to penetrate a mystery. 

I, however, look upon the following descriptions of 
the Christian warfare, not as finished pictures, but 
rather as scanty outlines to be fiUed up, not merely by 
the imagination of the child, but the suggestions of 
those to whose care he is confided. I would earnestly 
ask from such the "word in season" to point out the 
moral, to apply the lesson; above all, to explain the 
allusions to the higher and holier truths of religion 
which I thought it irreverent more openly to introduce 
into what bears so much the appearance of a fairy-tale. 
The sword, the armour, the very name of the champion, 



n PREFACE. 

the strength which he received, the crown which he was 
to wear at the close of his labours, but not as their 
rewardj will serve as examples of these allusions ; which 
a wise and pious parent may expand to most valuable 
lessons. From the experience which I have had of 
children, I feel assured that an allegorical tale is likely 
to be attractive to their minds ; but it greatly depends 
on the influence of those around them whether they 
derive from it only the passing amusement of an hour, 
or the solid instruction in sacred truth which the 
Author is anxious to convey. 

A. L o. E. 





"^ Ji, c^ 



ChapL 

I. THE ARRIVAL, 

II. FIRST IMPRESSIONS, 

III. GIANT SLOTH, 

IV. GIANT SELFISHNESS, 

V. GIANT UNTRUTH, 

VI. TRIALS AND TROUBLES, 
VII. SUNDAY AT DOVE's NEST. .. 

VIII. GIANT HATE, 

IX. FAIR GRATITUDE, 

X. THE PLEASURE EXCURSION, 
XI. THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. 
Xn. GIANT PRIDE, 



• • • • • • 



PM« 



10 

27 

36 

63 

G5 

78 

95 

110 

123 

138 

140 




THE GIANT-KILLER. 



?ELL, I hope that we're near the end of our 
. journey at last!" exclaimed Adolplms Pro 
byn, with a long weary yawn, as the fly 
which was conveying him and his brother 
from the station rolled slowly along a quiet 
countiy road. 

"You're in a precious hurry to get there," said Con- 
stantine, fixing his thumbs in his waistcoat pockets, and 
putting up his feet on the opposite seat; " but I don't 
believe that you'll like the place when you see it. I 
hate being sent to a private tutor's; I'd rather have 
gone to a regular school at once." 

" I don't know as to that," said Adolphus, who had 
some vague ideas in his mind about facing, hard dump- 
lings, and wooden benches. 



10 THE ARRIVAL. 

"One thing I know," cried his brother, "I'm certain 
to dislike tliis tutor with all my heart" 

Adolphus did not take the trouble to ask his reasons, 
but Constantino went on without stopping to be ques- 
tioned. 

"I should dislike any one recommended by Aunt 
Lawrence^ she's so particular, thinks so many things 
wrong, is so fond of good books and lectures, and that 
sort of thing. Depend upon it, she put into papa's head 
that we were spoilt, and needed some one to keep us in 
order, and she found out this poor country clergyman" — 

"Poor — I'm sorry he's poor," observed Adolphus; 
" he'll not make us half so comfortable as we were at 
home. I wonder if he'll have no late second dinner." 

" Oh, you may make up your mind to that ! " cried 
his brother; "all the family will dine together at One 
on boiled mutton and rice pudding, or bacon and beans !" 
Adolphus sighed. "And it will be work, work, work, 
from morning till night, with no change but long ser- 
mons, long lectures, and long walks; and if we go bird- 
nesting, or have a little fun, won't we catch it — 
that's aU ! " 

"Here we are at last!" said Adolphus, as the fly 
stopped at a little green door. 

Constantino put his head out of the window. " No 
carriage drive," he muttered; "what a mean place it 
must be ! " 



THE AURIVAI^ 




Scarcely had the coachman's pull at tiie bell broken 
the peaceful stiCness of that quiet spot, when the green 
door was thrown wide open, and a boy of about eleven 
years of age appeared at itj with a broad smile of wel- 
come on his face. 

" I'm so glad you've come — we've been waiting dinner 
for you; let me help down with that," he added, as the 
coachman made preparations for lifting down a black 
trunk which had kept him company on the box. 

Constantine jumped from the carriage; his twin brother 
more slowly descended, and witiiout troubling themselves 



12 THE ARRIVAL. 

with their luggage, or taking much notice of their new 
companion, they proceeded along the narrow gravel-walk 
which led up to the entrance of the dwelling. 

A pretty cottage it appeared, though a small one, 
with the sunshine gleaming through the twining roses 
on the diamond-panelled windows^ that peeped from 
beneath tlie low thatched roof. It would have looked 
very well in a picture; not a chimney but was twisted 
into some elegant shape; the whcde building, nestling in 
trees and garlanded with creepers, might have served as 
a model to a painter. But as Adolphus gazed curiously 
upon his new home, it looked to his eye rather too much 
like a magnified toy: he began to wonder to himself 
where room could be found in it for him and his brother, 
especially when he saw two little girls standing in the 
porch watching their arrival with a look of shy pleasure. 

Boys of ten years of age are, however, seldom long 
troubled with thoughts such as these, and the attention 
of young Probyn was almost immediately diverted by 
the appearance of Mr. and Mrs. Roby, who advanced to 
welcome their guests to Dove's Nest. The former was 
a tall, pale gentleman, with a stoop, a high forehead and 
thoughtful air, which at once impressed the two little 
boys with an idea that a very learned scholar was before 
them. Mrs. Roby, on the contrary, was stout and rather 
short, with a bright merry glance in her dark eyes, to 
which the dimples in ner cheeks corresponded; there 



THE ARRIVAL. 




was kindlineBS in the press of her hand, and a cheerful 
animation about her whole manner that made her guests 
feel at home with her at once. 

" I see that my AJeck has iatroduced himself to you 
already," said she, smiling, "but here are other little 
fiiends glad to see you, and anxious, I am sure, to make 
you happy. Berthar— Laura — my darling," she con- 
tinued, laying her hand fondly on the curly head of the 
youngest chCd, the little image of herself with her 



14 THE ARRIVAL. 

bright eyes and merry glance, "you should bid these 
young gentlemen welcome." 

The Probyns were soon shown to the room which they 
were to share with Aleck; and though the ceiling was 
low, and sloped down on one side, and the single window 
was certainly small, he would have been difficult to 
please indeed, who could have found fault with so pretty 
an apartnient. Everything was so beautifully clean and 
neat, and through that open window came so sweet an 
air; while the tinkle of a distant sheep-bell, and the 
carol of birds from the neighbouring trees, made music 
delightful, after the rattle of a railway, or the ceaseless 
roll of carriages in London. 

The dinner, also, to which the Probjms speedily de- 
scended, was excellent, though simple; and Adolphus 
especially, who had soon managed to find out that no 
second one was to be expected, did ample justice to the 
good cheer after his long journey, having quite forgotten 
sundry parcels of sandwiches and cake which he had 
managed to dispose of by the way. 

Being rather shy at first, and under the eye of Mr. 
Roby, the boys were upon their good behaviour, and 
everything went on very haimoniously. Laura had 
indeed to squeeze up very close to her mother to avoid 
the elbows of Constantine, and opened her merry eyes 
wider than usual when Adolphus, seeing that the plum- 
tart was rapidly disappearing, thrust forward his plate 



THE ARRIVAL. 15 

for a second help before he had half finished his first 
But no open notice was taken of either breach of good 
manners; this was not the time to find fault 

Mr. Roby sat quiet and observant, and his two little 
daughters said little; but their mother led the conversa- 
tion, in which Aleck joined freely, and before the dinner 
was over the Probjms were quite at their ease. 

** We shall have plenty of things to show you," said 
Aleck; "papa has given us all a half-holiday in honour 
of your arrival There are my two rabbits, the black 
and the white one." 

" I like rabbit cuiTy very much," interrupted Adolphus. 

" Oh, but you are not to eat them ! " exclaimed little 
Laura in alarm, shocked at the idea of cooking her 
favourites. 

"And there is the garden," continued Aleck; "we 
have made two arches across the gravel-walk, and such 
beautiful creepers are twined round them; and there is 
a famous bower at the end of it — we helped to pave it 
with pebbles ourselves." 

"And there's a cow ! " cried Laura; "you shall see 
her milked ! " 

" Then we will have some syllabub, that we will ! " 
exclaimed Adolphus. 

The little Robys looked at each other, and then 
glanced at their mother, in astonishment at such a bold 
and unusual proposal. The lady, somewhat to their 



16 THE ARRrV\\L. 

surprise, gave a smiling consent, and poured out nearly 
a tumbler-full of home-made wine in preparation for this 
unwonted treat. 

"This is not so bad," thought Constantine; "I dare 
say we'U have some fun here. I shall like to tease that 
prim puss Miss Bertha a little, who looks as though she 
considered it wrong to open her mouth; and we'll bring 
down Master Aleck a peg or two — he thinks himself 
mighty clever, I can see." 

" This is a great deal better than school," — such were 
the reflections of Adolphus. "The master looks mild 
enough, the lady is the picture of good-nature, and these 
people don't appear to be shabby, although they are 
certainly poor." 

Yes, Mr. Roby was poor; even had his income been 
double what it was, one so generous and benevolent 
would still have been poor. He could not afford to 
give Aleck, his only son, the advantage of a school, but 
this seemed no misfortune to the affectionate father; he 
preferred conducting his boy's education himself. Aleck 
was naturally clever, and, under the careful training of 
his parent, had made uncommon progress in his studies. 
If there was anything on earth of which the clergyman 
was proud, it was the talents and goodness of his soa 
Quiet and reserved as Mr. Roby was, it was no small 
trial to him to introduce strangers into his peaceful 
home, though these strangers were the nephews of an 



THE ARRIVAL. 



17 



intimate friend; it was a sacrifice of inclination to duty. 
But his wife, in encouraging liiin to make tliis sacrifice, 
liad other reasons beyond increasing their small means, 
or obliging the aunt of the Probyna. Mrs. Roby, with 
her clear common sense, saw that it was not good for 
her Aleck to have no companion but hia sisters. They 
were both younger than himself, and looked up to him 
in everything. He helped them in their lessons, took 




the lead in their amusements, and was loved by them 

with the fondest affection. What wonder if the boy 

2 



18 THE ARRIVAL. 

was becoming a little spoiled; he was of too much im- 
portance in the quiet home-circle; he could not but feel 
that his parents were proud of him — that his sisters 
regarded him as one who could scarcely do wrong; he 
grew too fond of giving his opinion — too self-confident, 
and his mother saw it. Hers was, however, the eye of 
partial affection, and she had little idea how often those 
who had been gratifying her husband by praising the 
uncommon talents and virtues of their son, behind his 
back spoke of him as "a conceited boy, who loved to 
hear himself talk, who was ruined by being brought up 
at home, and would never be good for anjiihing in the 
world." 

Oh, how startled should we often be, could we know 
the difierence between what is said to us, and what is 
said of us; what a shock would our vanity receive, could 
we look beyond the smile of flatterers and see into their 
hearts ! 




CHAPTER n. 




FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 

HE next morning Aleck and his sisters met their 
mother in the breakfast-parlour before their 
guests had left their sleeping apartment. Mr. 
Roby was stUl engaged in his study, ha^ang as 
usual risen at five, that he might not leave 
one of his various duties neglected. 

"Mamma," said Bertha, after having received her 
morning's kiss, ** I am afraid that we shall not like these 
Probyns at all." 

"It is too early to decide upon their characters," 
replied Mrs. Roby ; "we must wait till we know them 
a little better." 

" I think Constantine a very disagreeable boy," said 
Bertha; "he has a sort of — I don't know what sort of 
manner, but it is not in the least like Aleck's. It is as 
though he despised us for being girls; and he kicks his 
feet against the legs of the table, and never keeps still 
for a moment, and it fidgets me so — I can't bear it ! " 
The little girl's brow was all wrinkled over with frowns. 



20 FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 

"And he's so naughty," said Laura, resting her arms 
on her mother's knee, and looking up gravely into her 
face. *' He pulled the cow's tail, and would not leave 
off, and when we told him that it hurt her, he only 
laughed ! " 

" You should have seen how the boys quarrelled for 
the syllabub," continued Bertha, " pulling and struggling 
till half of it was thrown over between them." 

"And they never let me have one drop," added 
Laura; " I think that they are shocking bad boys ! " 

"So they are," said Aleck, as he paused in his task 
of cutting the loaf for breakfast; " they never read their 
Bibles before going to bed, nor said their prayers neither, 
as far as I could tell." Aleck did not add — indeed, he 
did not consider, that although he himself had not 
omitted to kneel down, as he had been taught from his 
childhood to do, his thoughts had been so much taken 
up with his new companions, and drawing a contrast 
between their conduct and his own, that not a feeling of 
real devotion had given life to his heartless prayer. 

" Not say their prayers ! " cried Laura, looking more 
shocked than before; "did you ever think that there 
were such wicked boys ? " 

" And such stupid ones too," rejoined Aleck. " When 
I spoke to them about their lessons, Adolphus said, with 
a great yawn, that learning was a bore." Laura raised 
her eyebrows with an expression of arch surprise. " I 



FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 21 

offered to lend him my account of the famous Cook. 
'Oh, I know all about him already/ said he; *liis name 
was Soyer, and he made a capital sauce ! * " Here two 
merry dimples appeared on the little child's cheeks, and 
deepened as her brother proceeded: ** And when I asked 
him if he did not like Caesar, he thought that I was 
speaking of a dog, and inquired if he was one that 
would not bite ! " 

This overcame Laura's gravity altogether; she burst 
into such a merry ringing laugh that neither Bertha nor 
Aleck could help joining her heartily; and even Mrs. 
Roby, who was meditating a little lecture to her chil- 
dren on too hastily judging othera, found it difficult to 
keep her countenance. 

The entrance of the Probyns stopped the mirth of 
which they had been the subject. Breakfast passed over ; 
then came hours of study, which served to strengthen 
Aleck in his opinion that his companions were very 
stupid boys. Adolphus appeared the dullest of the two ; 
not that he naturally was so, but he had always been 
too lazy to learn. He stumbled at every word in his 
reading, spelt pheasant with an f, and thumb without a 
b, could not see any difference between a noun and a 
verb, and confused the Red Sea with the Black. Poor 
Mr. Roby, accustomed to an intelligent pupil, stifled a 
quiet sigh ; and Aleck, with a feeling of vast superiority, 
could not hide the mingled surprise, amusement, and 



22 FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 

conteiiij^t, Avhich the boy's ignorance called up in his own 
mind. The Probyns noticed the smile on his face, and it 
stung them more than a real injury would have done ; while 
indulging his secret pride, Aleck was sowing in the hearts 
of his companions bitter feelings of resentment and hate. 

After lessons, an hour was given to play in the garden ; 
but anything but play it proved to Aleck, for the Pro- 
bjTis were detennined to show him that, if he had more 
book-learning than they, he, a country boy, was ignorant 
of many things familiar to them from living in London. 
Without coming to an open quaiTel, they made him feel 
that they disliked him, showed such open contempt for 
what he valued, and treated his favourite pursuits with 
such scorn, that, initated almost beyond his power of 
endurance by a trial to which he was unaccustomed, 
Aleck lost both his patience and his temper, and was 
laughed at for being so easily "put in a pet." It was 
fortunate for him that the time had now come for joining 
his mother and sisters in the parlour. The boys found 
the little ladies busy at their sewing ; Mrs. Roby had 
quitted the room to see a poor woman who had come for 
advice and assistance. 

" This is our nice half-hour with mamma," said Laura ; 
" she always reads something to us before dinner while 
we work, and Aleck draws beside her." 

*' More reading ! " exclaimed Adolphus, with no pleased 
look. 



FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 23 

" Oh, but it's amnsing reading !" said Laura. ** There, 
Aleck dear, I've put your copy and pencil all ready for 
you ; and I've not foi"gotten the India - rubber thLs 
morning, you see, though I am such a careless little 
thing !" Another time she would have been repaid by 
a smile and a kiss ; but Aleck was in no mood for that 
now. 

" Amusing reading ! I wonder what you call amusing !" 
said Constantine, who, to Bertha's great annoyance, was 
occupying his idle fingers in turning over the contents of 
her work-box. 

"Why, mamma has been reading to us little bits," 
said Laura ; " only little bits such as I can understand, 
you know, of the history of good Mr. Budgett, the * Suc- 
cessful Merchant.' " 

**The Successful Merchant! I'll not stand that!" 
exclaimed Constantine, flinging Bertha's reels of cotton 
right and left, as he threw himself back in his chair. 

"Oh, but it's so curious — so interesting — and all 
true ! There's the story of the little donkey, and of the 
horse that was lost, and the great tea-party — things that 
amuse even me." 

"Amuse a stupid girl like you ; but" — 

" If you talk about stupidity," cried Aleck, firing up, 
" let me tell you " — 

Oh, how thankftd the girls were for the entrance of 
their mother at this moment 1 To see flushed faces, fiery 



24 FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 

looks, clenched fists, was so new to them, that, in terror 
lest their darling brother should be drawn into a quarrel 
and be hurt, poor little Laura could scarcely restrain her 
tears, and Bertha, as she stooped to pick up her reels, 
wished from her heart that these odious new-comers had 
never arrived to break the peaceftd serenity of Dove's 
Nest. 

Mrs. Roby*s quick eye instantly detected that there 
had been words amongst the children ; she thought it best, 
however, to take no notice of this, and opening a little 
drawer in her table, took out of it a manuscript book. 

" I have been thinking what kind of reading might 
serve to entertain you all, uniting some instruction with 
amusement." Constantine turned down his lips at the 
word instruction. He thought that the lady did not 
see him. *' Here is an allegory — a sort of tale which 
contains a hidden meaning beneath the apparent one — 
and"— 

" But I don't like hearing reading, ma'am," interrupted 
Adolphus, with much more candour than good manners. 

'' No kind of reading ? " inquired Mrs. Roby, in perfect 
good-humour. 

"Oh, some story-books, and fairy-tales, I don't mind 
them, if I've nothing better to amuse me." 

" I think, then, that this book may suit your taste ; 
it is the story of a Giant-killer." 

^* Jack the Giant-killer I Oh, I've heard that a thou- 



FIRST IMPRESSIONS. SS 

sand times !" cried Adolphus, while the Robya couLI 
scarcely help laughing at the idea of their mother reading 
8uch a story to them. 

" Mine is a new Giajit-killer — a great hero, I can assui'e 
you," said the lady ; " and I think that my tale is a 
better one than that wiLh which you are so well ac- 
quainted, as it contains a great deal that is true." 
" Why, there are no giants now I" cried Conatantine, 
"I am not so sure of that," replied Mrs. Roby; "I 




believe that we might find both gianta and giant-killers 
in the world at this time, if we only knew where to 
look for them." 



26. FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 

" I should like to hear this story," said Constantine, 
afraid of the lady's returning to the " Successful Mer- 
chant." 

**Then perhaps you would kindly wind this skein of 
silk for me while I read," said Mrs. Roby, willing to 
save an unfortunate tidy from the fingers which were 
now picking at its fringe. ''There, let me find the end 
for you. I am sure that Adolphus will oblige me by 
turning the skein while you wind ; and, now that you 
are all busily employed, I will at once begin my littie 
book." 




r=^ 


^•''^%''' 


L^"*^!^^ 






fe^^l^l 



CHAPTER III. 



GIANT SLOTH. 




was the still hour of twilight. Tlie moon still 
shone in the deep blue sky ; but her light was 
becoming pale and dim. The stars had gone 
out, one by one, and a red flush in the east, 
deepening into crimson just behind the hill, 
showed where the sun would shortly appear. 

A knight lay stretched on the mossy gi'ound ; his liejvd 
reclined on a shield, his two-handed sword girt to his 
side — even in sleep his hand rested on the hilt. This 
was the brave champion Fides, the chosen knight to 
whom had been given mighty treasures and a golden 
crown by the King whom he had sei'ved fi'om his child- 
hood. But he was not yet to enter into possession of 
his riches, he was not yet to wear his bright crown ; 
hard labours, great dangei-s were before him — he was to 
fight before he might enjoy. So Fides was to pass 
alone through the enemy's land, to slay every giant who 
should oppose him on the way. His King had provided 
him with strong armour, and with a wondrous sword 



28 GIANT SLOTH. 

which gave certain victory if he who di-ew it shrank not 
back like a coward, or yielded to the foe like a traitor ; 
he had, in truth, nothing to fear but his own slackness in 
fight ; if but faithful, he must be triumphant. 

The knight slept soundly on his soft couch, for he was 
weary with long travel that night. He was roused by 
the touch of a hand, so light that the dew could hardly 
have rested more gently on his shoulder ; and yet there 
was something in the power of that touch which not 
only broke his slumbers, but restored to him in a moment 
all his waking powers. He started up, and beheld before 
him a beautiful messenger sent by his King. Her robe 
was of woven light, a starry crown was upon her head, 
and the glance of her eye penetrated the heart, and laid 
open its most inmost feelings. Fides recognized Con- 
science, his companion and friend, who, invisible to all 
eyes but his own, had come on an errand to the knight. 

"Sleeping still!" she exclaimed, " with your labours 
all to come — sleeping on the enemy's ground ! Rouse 
3^ou, recreant champion, and draw your sword ; see you 
not yon towers before you ? It is there that Giant Sloth 
holds his court ; you cannot pass on until he is slain. 
This is the hour to attack him in his hold ; soon after 
sunrise he quits it to roam abroad ; if not attacked early, 
he will escape your pursuit ; — on, then, and victory attend 
you 1 " 

** Conscience, I am weary!" Fides replied; "a 



GIANT SLOTH. 



little more rest may be mine ! The sun is scarcely aeeii 
above yon ridge; grant me another hour's slumber," 
"Go at once," replied the bright one, "or you go in 




" But how make my way into the castle ? " 
"Press the hilt of your swoi-d against the heaviest 
door, and it will open as if by a key." 



30 GIANT SLOTH. 

"But if difficulties should arise, or doubts perplex 



me 



" Breathe upon the hilt of your sword, and you will 
behold me beside you. Though unseen, I will ever be 
near you. Delay not now, for, look at the sun, what a 
flood of light he pours on the world ! When the great 
clock in the giant's tower strikes six, it will be too late 
to encounter him that day; he may vanish before your 
eyes, but neither be conquered nor slain. Go!" And 
even as the words were upon her lips, the bright one 
vanished from his sight. 

With rapid step and a resolute spirit. Fides sped on to 
his first encounter. The way was plain before him ; not 
even the youngest child could have mistaken it. In 
front arose the castle of Giant Sloth, whose heavy, shape- 
less mass looked as though it had been built of clouds. 
Fides, sword in hand, pressed up to the door; it was open, 
as if to invite his entrance, and he at once proceeded 
into the large haU. 

A strange scene of confusion was there ; the whole 
place was littered with unfinished work, blotted pages 
and blank ones, play-books torn and without their backs, 
dresses in rags, and neglected volumes with leaves yet 
uncut. But the strangest thing was the feeling of 
heaviness and dulness which stole over the knight the 
moment that he entered the hall. It seemed too much 
trouble even to pass through its length ; he would fain 



GIANT SLOTH. 31 

have laid himself down and slept. Tlie place was very 
still, the only sound heard was that of some one heavily 
breathing in a room that was near ; Fides doubted not 
that this was the giant himself. 

Animated with the hope of gaining his first triumph, 
the knight resolutely struggled against the sleepy sen- 
sation which made the danger of that enchanted hall. 
He passed through it, and found at the end that what 
he at a distance had mistaken for a wall, was only a 
huge web, like that which the house-spider weaves ; not 
the light net-work which is strung with bright beads 
of dew, but thick, close, and darkened with dusjb. 
Through this strange curtain Fides with some difficulty 
could see into the inner room where the giant lay 
asleep. 

Sloth's huge, clumsy form was half sunk in a great 
heap of down, not a feather of which stirred in the 
heavy air, except such as were moved by his breathing. 
Here, then, was the knight, and there was his foe, but 
how was the first to reach the latter ! Only the web 
was between, and Fides threw his whole weight 
against it, hoping easily thus to get through ; not so, it 
bent, but it did not break — every thread in the yielding 
curtain seemed as strong as though it had been made of 
iron wire. , 

Fides drew back disappointed and surprised ; some- 
thing that was not weariness, but passessed the same 



GIANT SLOTH. 




power to deaden energy and make effort disagreeable, 
seemed preaaing hia spirit down. His eyelids grew 
heavy, he could scarcely keep them open, he felt a strong 
and increasing desire to indulge the sleepiness which had 



GIANT SLOTH. 33 

now come over him. But there was an object before 
him which made him struggle against the enchantment. 
Just above the feathery couch of the giant was a huge 
clock, with a dial of silver and numbers of gold, and the 
hand, which glittered with many a gem, had almost 
touched the point of six. 

"Now or never !" thought Fides, with another strong 
effort, as he remembered the words of Conscience. 
Again the web yielded to his weight, but not the 
smallest flaw appeared in its fine texture to give him 
hope of succeeding in breaking through. 

"Ding — ding — ding !" the hand is at six — the giant 
is beginning to stir ! Fides with sudden resolution lifts 
his sword on high, down it descends on the web, which, 
as the blow divides it, starts back on each side till a 
very wide gap appears. Fides springs through the 
opening, he is just in time, and the next moment Giant 
Sloth lies dead at his feet. 

"Well," exclaimed Adolphus, with a comical expres- 
sion on his face, as soon as Mrs. Roby had closed her 
book, " I suspect that this story, from beginning to end, 
is all a hit upon me." 

" I thought that it was a hit upon me," said little 
Laura, " when I heard of the broken-backed play-books, 
and the room in such shocking disorder !" 

"It might have been a hit upon me," thought Bertha, 

3 



34 GIANT SLOTH. 

who, indolent by disposition, had felt the moral touch 
her in the description of unfinished work. 

"It is a hit upon no one," replied Mrs. Eoby, "unless any 
person present chooses to consider himself as Giant Sloth 
or one of his brotherhood. Your faults are your enemies, 
the greatest enemies of those over whom they exercise 
the greatest power. Pray, at this our first reading of 
"the Giant-kiUer," let me impress this strongly upon 
your minds. I would not hurt the feelings of one of 
my listeners, far less would I encourage them to find 
out and laugh at the follies of each other. My desire is 
to lead you to consider that you are all and each of you 
yourselves in the position of my hero. The foes which 
he had to conquer you also must fight; you have the 
same aid to encourage you, the same motives to rouse. 
The same giant may not be equally formidable to you 
all, but every one has some enemy with whom he must 
struggle, in a strength that is given to him, armour not 
his own." 

"Ah !" said Aleck, "I was sure that there was some 
meaning in that part of the story. The two-handed 
sword also, which nothing could resist " — 

"What was that?" interrupted Constantine. 

"I would rather that you should discover that for 
yourself," said Mrs. Eoby. " If the kernel of an alle- 
gory be good, it is worth the trouble of cracking the 
shell" 



GIANT SLOTH. 



35 



"Oh, but I hate all trouble 1" cried Adoli)hus; "above 
all, the trouble of thinking." 

" Take care, take care," laughed little Laura, "or we 
shall suspect that you have been caught by Giant 
Sloth." 





CHAPTER r\'. 

GIANT SELVIBBNR3S 

VO you know, mamma," said Laura the next 
day, aa slic and her siatcr sat alone with 
their mother, the boys being at lessons in 
the study — " do you know that I did not feel 
inclined to get up when I was called; but the 
clock began to strike, which put Giant Sloth into my 
head, and up I jumped in a minute!" 

"I am glad that you made such practical use of my 
Ettle tale," replied Mrs. Roby, with a amile. 

"But, mamma — if I might say something," began 
Bertha, then hesitated and paused. 

"Say anything that you pleaae, my dear," 
" I almost wondered at your beginning with only 
Giant Sloth ; that seems such a little fiiult compared 
with the great ones of the Probyns. Constantine did 
not seem hit at all, for he is active enough in mis- 
chief" 

" I repeat that I hit no one," replied her mother. 

" Oh ! — but — you know what I mean, mamma ; I 



GIANT SELFISHNESS. 37 

should have liked something very — ^very" — Bertha's 
face had a puzzled look, for she knew not how to express 
her meaning; "I should have liked some story that 
would have made them know themselves, and hate their 
faults as every one else must hate them. I would have 
had a horrible Giant Selfishness !" she added, her manner 
becoming more excited as she spoke. 

**You look upon selfishness, then, as theii* grand 
enemy V 

''Oh, mamma, can anything be plainer — they are 
made up of selfishness, nothing but selfishness ; they 
never think of the comfort of any one. I am sure that 
I wish they had never come here, to toiinent us !" her 
cheek flushed, and her eye filled as she spoke. 

'*Come, come, my love, if you are so warm on the 
subject, I shall suspect that the poor Probyns are not the 
only ones here who feel the power of Giant Selfishness." 

''Mamma! what do you mean?" said Bertha, in sur- 
prise. 

" I believe — I am convinced that you would sufier 
far less from the conduct of these boys if there were not 
something in your own nature of the same quality which 
you so strongly condemn in them." 

" I never thought that you would have accused me of 
selfishness 1" said Bertha, with a good deal more of sullen- 
ness in her tone than might have been expected from a 
child so well brought up. 



GIANT SE1.FISHNESS. 




" What makea you feel so extremely annoyed when 
your pleasures are interfered with, your little amusements 
interrupted, your time broken in upon, your things 
wanted for others?" 

"No one likes to be put out of their way," replied 
Bertha. 

" No one likes it, my love, and aelfiahness is a quality 
to which, I fear, very few indeed are strangera" 

" My brother and sister do not think me selfish — T 
would do anything for them." 

"You love them, and love makes all things easy; be- 
sides that, it seems to me that they seldom put your 
aelf-denial to any great trial. To attend your brother, 
to work for him, to carry out his little plans, has been 
your greatest amusement; and as for Laura " — the child 



GIANT SELFISHNESS. 39 

had just left the room to bring her forgotten spelling- 
book — "she is such a sweet-tempered little creature that 
there could be no merit in showing kindness to her/* 

"Then why are these boys brought here to make me 
selfish when I was not so before?" cried Bertha, with 
bitter emotion. " They seem to have brought all sorts 
of evil with them — even Aleck does not appear the same 
that he was — he is not half so much with his sisters ; 
they are filling my heart with such angry feelings — I 
shall never be good while they are here." 

" They are teaching you to know yourself, my Bertha ; 
they are not causing the selfishness in your soul, they 
are only tearing away the veil which prevented you from 
knowing that it was there. A gilt object may appear 
as well as a gold one until it is tried in the fire, it is the 
furnace of temptation which proves of what metal we 
are made. A lake looks clear and pure while perfectly 
stiU ; the oar which stirs up the sand from below is not 
the cause of the sand being there, it lay in the depths 
before, like evil in the depths of our hearts." 

Bertha heaved a deep sigh. " It is very painful to 
find out that we are so much worse than we thought 
ourselves^" she said. 

"The discovery is painful, but very valuable. You 
would not go to meet an enemy blindfold ; you must see 
him before you com fight him, you must know your 
faults before you can subdue them." 



40 GIANT SELFISHNESS. 

Bertha felt the truth of her mother's words, and in- 
stead of only dwelling on the failings of their guests, she 
applied the lesson to herself, when her mother read to 
the assembled children the story of 

Giant Selfishness sat in his bower, which was all gar- 
landed over with flowers. The honeysuckle twined 
round its slender pillars; damask roses and white, tinged 
with a pale blush, clambered over the roof; while around 
a marble basin, from which a bright fountain tossed its 
sparkling waters in the sun, the geranium scattered its 
delicate blossoms, and the fuchsia shook its crimson 
tassels in the breeze. A fair bower it was, for it had 
been adorned by Pleasure, the willing servant and at- 
tendant on its lord. 

Giant Selfishness was huge of stature and strong of 
limb ; taller and more powerful than his younger 
brother, Sloth. There were few indeed who could cope 
with his arm, he was tyrant over half the world. Many 
a great conqueror he had made his slave, thousands and 
thousands had felt his chains, he claimed dominion over 
yoimg and old. Yet now^ as the giant sat alone, a deep 
shade of gloom was upon his massive brow ; he listened 
not to the tinkling fall of the fountain, he glanced not 
at the beautiful flowers. 

" Evil tidings, evil tidings ! " he muttered to himself; 



GIANT SELFISHNESS. 41 

" Sloth has been the first victim, but he will not be the 
last. I dread nothing on earth but the invincible 
sword ; not even my strength can stand against that ! " 
He pressed his vast hand over his eyes, and remained 
for some moments in thought. 

V Ha ! I have it ! " he exclaimed, suddenly raising his 
head ; " what force cannot accomplish, cimning may 
perform." He clapped his hands as a signal, and the 
noise that they made was startling as a peal of 
thunder. 

Instant at the summons his servant Pleasure appeared. 
A fairy-like creature, with gossamer wings, all sparkling 
with the tints of the rainbow. 

" Pleasure," exclaimed the giant, " I call thee to my 
aid against him who would root out the race of Selfish- 
ness. Knowest thou if Fides is still at the castle where 
Sloth this morning fell beneath his sword ? " 

"He is still there," replied the musical voice of 
Pleasure; "he finds much to arrange, and much to do, 
but will leave ere the sun goes down." 

" He must not leave it till the night dew falls ! " cried 
the giant, leaning forward on his seat, and speaking in 
a low, earnest tone. " Hie thou to yon castle. Pleasure; 
spread there for him a table that may lure him to delay ; 
load it with rich wines and the daintiest food; make it 
tempting, as thou knowest how to make it." 

Pleasure had learned many a recipe from old Gluttony 



GIANT SELFISHNESS. 




lier neighboiir, and, confident in her own powers, only 
answered the giant by a smile. 

"There is no moon to-night," continued Selfishness; 
" if he tarry till dark, he is my prey. Then, when he 
sets forth from Castle Sloth, do thou, with a lantern in 
thine hand, dance before him like the wild-fire on the 
waste ; draw him from the path which he should pursue. 



GIANT SELFISHNESS. 43 

lead him on to the deep pit in the woods which I have 
dug to catch wanderers like him." 

Pleasui-e bowed as she received the command, spread 
her gossamer wings, and flew off. 

A heavy day was it with Giant Selfishness ; his mind 
was full of anxiety and fear. What if the chosen knight 
should resist the temptation — ^i^ resolute in the way 
pointed out by Conscience, he should neither indulge in 
the dainties so treacherously provided, nor follow the 
light sent to mislead ! As the night closed in and the 
scene grew darker and darker, with huge strides the 
giant sought his pit in the wood ; there, like a wild 
beast lurking in his den, he awaited the approach of 
Fides — he dared not stand the stroke of the invin- 
cible sword, but he might slay his foe if taken at dis- 
advantage. 

Ah, how many times, whilst indulging in the feast 
of Gluttony, had Fides heard the faint warning voice of 
Conscience ! but, proud of his success in his conflict with 
Sloth, he regarded not warning nor danger. The sound 
of the clock fell unheeded on his ear, and not till the 
darkening shades told of the approach of night, tiU the 
glass ceased to sparkle, and all grew dim, did he slowly 
rise to depart. 

Giant Selfishness crouched by his pit in the woods, 
and listened for the sound of footsteps. For a long* 
space he heard only the nistling of the leaves, as the 



GIANT SELFISHSBSS. 




night wind moaned through tlie forest. The stars 
scarcely gleamed in the dark blue sky, through openings 
in the driving clouds. At length a light appeared at a 
distance, and by its yellow, flickering beams the giant 
knew it to be the torch of Pleasure. On it came, 
nearer and more near ; and now the flash of its gleam 
upon armour, and the sound of a footstep on the forest 
path, showed that a knight was fast following behind. 
Then Giant Selfishness rubbed his huge hands with 
delight. "He who follows only Pleasure," he muttered, 
"will be sure to fall into my pit." 

The sword of Fides hung by his side— it was not in 
his hand, for he found it encumber him as he passed 
. through the thicket. He was not on the watch for a 
foe ; he thought of nothing but the gay light before him. 



OIAJJT SELFISHNESS. 




Suspecting no danger, he pressed on with rapid step ; 
then, ha ! there was the sound of a crash and a cry ; he 
had reached the pit, he had set his foot on the edge, he 
had fallen into the snare of Selfishness. 

The fall did not Itill him, though the pit was deep — 
perhaps his wondrous armour protected him from severe 
injury — but he was bruised, mortified, and discouraged ; 
and the giant whose art had thrown hijn into this dark 
prison was resolved to keep him in it till he should 
perish by a slow, lingering death, as thousands had done 
before him. 

But Fides, the conqueror of Sloth, was not one to 



46 GIANT SELFISHNESS. 

remain a captive to Selfishness without making an effort 
to escape. He was not content to be shut out from 
usefuhiess and glory ; he had fallen, indeed, through his 
careless walk, but he might yet struggle up to freedom. 
As soon as the knight fully understood his position, he 
began to attempt to climb the sides of the pit, for the 
armour which had been given to him never encumbered 
his motions — though strong in the battle, it yet sat light 
on the wearer as a garment of silk. 

A few small twigs of the creeping plant which in that 
land is called " Desire of Approbation," gave some little 
hold for his fingers, as he tried the difficult ascent. 
With great effort he reached about one-third of the 
height ; then the spray which he grasped broke off* in 
his hand, and he fell again heavily to the bottom, while 
the laugh of the giant, from the brink of the pit, 
mocked his disappointment and pain. 

Fides was not, however, altogether discouraged ; he 
resolved to take a better and surer way. His own 
strength would not suffice, but then he had his sword; he 
would cut out resting-places for his feet in the soft wall 
of the pit, and thus find a method to rise. He cut 
them, with a strong and patient hand, as far as his arm 
coidd reach, with many a thought of his King. He 
placed his foot on the first, raised his other to the second, 
and then, difficult as the task had become, and sorely as 
his arm ached with the exertion, scooped out two more 



GIANT SELFISHNESS. 47 

little notches above his head. It was dark, and the 
giant, who, kneeling by the edge, with his head bent 
down, was glaring into the pit, could not see his in- 
tended victim ; but he heard the sound of the earth as 
it fell, and caught a glimpse of the point of the sword, 
working its difficult way. 

" Ha ! that must be put a stop to ! " cried Selfishness, 
as, hastily gathering together a heap of stones, earth, 
and tur^ he hurled it down in the direction of the 
climber. The mass feU first on the sword — the invincible 
sword, which the weight of a mountain would not have 
snapped. This broke the force of the blow ; but it was 
still sufficient to dash the weapon from the hand of 
-Fides, and hurl the knight once more to the 
bottom. 

Now was Fides in sore dismay, and much he repented 
having lingered so long at the feast, and forgotten Con- 
science to follow Pleasure. He felt almost tempted to 
despair of ever getting out of the pit of Selfishness. He 
felt in the dark for his sword ; he found it, and tried its 
edge — it was keen and perfect as ever. Then remem- 
bering the words of Conscience, in his distress he 
breathed upon the hilt. In a moment a faint light shone 
in his prison fi:om the star-wreath round the brow of 
his friend. 

" O Conscience ! " exclaimed the unhappy prisoner, 
" never before hast thou seen me in such woeful case I 



48 GIANT SELFISHNESS. 

Must I remain buried alive in this pit — am I shut out 
from the kingdom for ever ? " 

" Thou must climb," replied Conscience; " though thou 
hast fallen thrice, he who perseveres must be successful 
at length." 

" But my limbs are bruised and weary, my strength 
is haJf-spent. When I rise a Uttle way, down comes a 
shower of earth, which throws me back into my dun- 
geon. I have nothing firm upon which to lay hold ; 
nothing to help me to rise from these depths." 

" Look this way," said Conscience ; " see what has 
been placed here to enable poor captives to climb up 
from their dungeon." By the soft light which she 
threw around her, Fides perceived a cord of twisted silk 
and gold hanging from the top of the pit. 

"This," continued the guide, "is the strong cord of 
Love : the bright scarlet twist is love towards man ; the 
golden — stronger, holier love. The giant knows of this 
cord, and a thousand times has tried to break, or loosen, 
or destroy it ; but it is not in his power to do so. 
Sometimes, indeed, he draws it up, so that his victims 
cannot reach it ; either he has forgotten this precaution 
to-night, or he has trusted that the darkness woidd hide 
from thee the means of safety and deliverance." 

Fides grasped the slender but firm cord of Love, and 
with stronger hope, and more steady resolution, again 
began his dangerous ascent. The climbing appears far 



GIANT SELFISHNESS. 4fl 

easier now; his feet find the notches prepared in the wall, 

and relieve his arms 

of a portion of the 
weight. But Selfish- 
ness, meanwhile, is 
not idle above ; again 
he collects a heap of 
Btones and of earth, 
hut in the deep dark- 
ness, uncertain of his 
aim, while the mass 
comes crashing and 
thundering down, but 
a small portion ac- 
tually strikes the 
knight. Another up- 
ward step, his hand is on the edge of the pit ; one more, 
and his head rises above it. Then Giant Selfishness utters 
a cry of despair ; he has no courage to cope with the in- 
vincible sword ; he turns hia back like a coward upon 
his foe, and is slain in the act of flight. 

Fidea stood panting and breathless, scarcely believing 
his own victory — exhausted with hia efforts, but rejoic- 
ing greatly in their success. With his drawn sword in 
his hand he stood, when a faint cry for mercy struck on 
his ear ; and, caught in the thicket by her gossamer 
wings, her bright torch lying extinguished on the ground. 




GIANT SELFISHNESS. 




I>y the dim twilight which waa now appearing he recog- 
nized his false guide. Pleasure. 

Doubtful he stood, with his weapon raised, unwilling 

to strike a creature so fair, unwilling to destroy what 



GIANT SELFISHNESS. 61 

possessed such power to charm, yet resolved to do his 
duty, whatever it might cost him. 

" O Conscience ! " he cried, " come now to my aid. 
Must Pleasure be destroyed when sin is overcome ? " 

The starry one was again beside him. "Hold thy 
hand," she exclaimed, "and let Pleasure live, now that 
her master. Giant Selfishness, is slain. She shall be thy 
servant, even as she was his ; but she must first learn 
how to perform higher, nobler tasks than any to which 
she was accustomed with him. I will place her beneath 
the care of Benevolence, where all her better nature will 
be drawn out ; Pleasure will then become a holy thing, 
her office no longer to lead thee astray, but to foUow thy 
footsteps in the path of duty, and remain thy companion 
for ever ! " 

" Ah, I am glad that poor Pleasure was not killed ! " 
exclaimed Laura. 

" A dull life she would have of it with Benevolence," 
observed Constantine. 

" I don't think so," said Aleck, glancing up from his 
drawing; "and I am certain, at least, that it woidd be 
a much longer one than if she had remained the servant 
of Selfishness." 

** How do you make that out ? " exclaimed several 
voices. 

"Why, Pleasure is fairly worn out by Selfishness," 



62 GIANT SELFISHNESS. 

replied Aleck, who was naturally a reflecting boy. " He 
kills her by working her too hard. The greedy boy 
eats for pleasure, sufiers for it afterwards, and pleasure 
is destroyed. The selfish boy thinks of nothing but his 
own amusement — ^no one cares for him, no one loves 
him — and pleasure is destroyed. The " — 

"The moral is this," interrupted Mrs. Roby, who saw 
that her son was treading upon dangerous ground : " Our 
business is not too eagerly to follow pleasure, but if we 
do our duty pleasure will follow us. What mere selfish 
enjoyment can compare with the delight of feeling that 
we have cheered the sad and helped the distressed, that 
we have poured sweetness into a bitter cup, or led one 
poor wanderer into the right way ! This is a pleasure 
that will never die; it is pleasure like that which is en- 
joyed in heaven ^ " 




CHAPTER V. 



GIAHT UNTKUTH. 

?0W aDiusing Pro is this evening ! " said Laura 
to her sister, as they sauntered in the garden 
alone. "Did you not like to hear all his 
grand stories about his home ? " 
" No," was Bertha's brief reply, 
"What, not about 

driving in a carriage 

with four horses, and 

being trusted with 

the reins himself) and 

being introduced to 

the Prince of Wales, 

and having a game at 

leap-frog with him ! " 
" I did not believe a 

word of i^ nor, I am 

sure, did mamma," re- 
plied Bertha; "did you 

not see how very grave 

she was looking ? " 




64 GIANT UNTRUTH. 

"I never thought of that," said the innocent little 
child; "I never supposed that Pro was so wicked as 
not to speak the truth." 

'* He thought it a good joke to take you in," replied 
her sister. 

''I will never believe anything that he says again. 
Yet Pro ^s pleasanter than Con, after all." 

Pro and Con, it may be here mentioned, were the 
familiar names given to the Probyns by Aleck, and 
adopted by his sisters. 

"Well, I'm glad that you think so, Missy," said 
Adolphus, who had overheard her last words, as he 
stroUed into the garden with his ball in his hand, throw- 
ing it up and catching it again as he slowly sauntered 
along. Adolphus was not an ill-natured boy, and was 
rather inclined to make friends with the little rosy- 
cheeked damsel beside him, so he challenged her to a 
game at ball Bertha, who wished to water her flowers, 
left them alone together. 

" Now, Missy, could you hit that nail on the wall ? " 

" 1*11 try," cried the child, eagerly, flinging the ball 

" You're not within a mile of it ! " said Adolphus. 

" A mile ! oh ! " exclaimed Laura, who had never 
been accustomed to the evil habit of exaggeration, 

*'Now, look at me, I'll knock it flat — ^no — I see that 
I've aimed a little too high; run and fetch the ball, like 
a good child." 



GIANT UNTRUTH. 65 

"Pro, I think that you had better not throw that 
way any more," said Laura, as she ran panting back 
with the ball. 

"And why not, pussy ? " 

" Because you might fling it again over the wall, you 
know — ^you throw so much further than I can — and the 
glass cucumber-jframe is just at the other side.*' 

" Oh, there's no fear, little Prudence ; I shall take 
care. I'll hit the nail to a dead certainty this time — 
there ! " as he spoke the ball whirled through the air, 
and disappeared over the wall. 

"A miss ; but I'll do it next time ! " cried Adolphus. 
" Off* for the ball, I'll try it again." 

Once more the willing little messenger started, but 
she returned witlj. a slower step, and a very grave face 
as she said, "The cucumber-frame is aU smashed — I 
picked the baU out of the middle of it." 

"Dear me — that's a pity; but it can't be helped now. 
You won't peach, that's a good girl." 

" What's that ? " asked the innocent Laura. 

" You won't tell of me?" 

"Not unless I am asked." 

"And if you are asked, you can easily say that you 
never saw any one breaking the glass frame. 

" Oh ! " exclaimed Laura, opening her eyes very wide, 
with an expression of indignant honesty. 

"Why, you stupid little thing, you would be saying 



56 GIANT UNTRUTH. 

nothing but the truth ; how could you see any one 
breaking the glass frame with that great brick wall 
hiding it from us completely." 

"But I am sure that you broke it " — 

"That doesn't matter a pin. I don't want you to 
say that you do not kTww who broke it, but that you 
did not see it broken by any one." 

"There's no difference," said Laura, looking puzzled. 

" There's a great deal of difference," replied Adolphus, 
impatiently; "the one would be an untruth, the other" — 

"An equivocation," said a quiet voice behind him. 
Adolphus started on seeing Mrs. Roby. 

" My de^r boy," she continued, laying her hand upon 
his shoulder, " do not attempt to silence conscience by 
the idea that by such a pitiftil evasion you could escape 
the guilt of untruth. A falsehood is an attempt to 
deceive; there may be falsehood where words are strictly 
true, there may falsehood where not a word is spoken," 

" I don't see how that can be," said Adolphus. 

" There is falsehood in suppressing the truth, as well 
as in saying what is not true. If a man whose pockets 
are full of money puts on an appearance of misery, and 
receives charity which he does not require, that man is 
acting a falsehood. If a boy silently accepts praise for 
a generous action which he knows that he has not per- 
formed, or has performed from some unworthy motive, his 
very silence is a kind of falsehood." 



GIANT UNTRUTH. 57 

" I don't think that we can help telling untruths in 
this world," said Adolphus. "Why, there's my aunt> 
who is so terribly particular, I know that she does not 
like her neighbour Mrs. Rogers at all, and yet, when 
she was obliged to write a note to her, she called her 
' My dear Mrs. Rogers,' and signed herself * Yours 
sincerely.' I am certain that Mrs. Rogers was not dear, 
and that aunt could not be sincere when she wrote 
that." 

**Do you think that Mrs. Rogers was deceived by the 
letter, that it made her believe herself a favourite with 
your aunt ? " 

" Oh no ; there was nothing in it to make her think 
that — it was all about recommending a nui'se." 

"Then there was no sin of imtruth in the letter. 
The beginning and ending were mere* forms, placed as a 
matter of course, like a wafer or a seal ; they were not 
intended to mislead, and they did not. Had your aunt 
warmly grasped the hand of the person whom she did 
not respect, embraced her, made her understand by her 
manner and her smiles that she valued and loved her 
very much, there would have been deceit and hypocrisy 
then, though not a word of untruth might have been 
said." 

It was probably the above conversation that in- 
duced Mrs. Roby to choose for the subject of her next 
chapter, — 



58 GIANT UNTRUTH. 

Fides now prepared to depart from the scene of his 
fall, and also the scene of his victory. Leaving Pleasure 
in the hands of Conscience, he only asked his bright 
friend what new achievement demanded his eflforts now. 

" Giant Untruth must at once be attacked," she re- 
plied. " He is one of the most dangerous of thy foes, 
from the strange enchantments which he uses. One 
stroke will not lay him low ; he bears a charmed life, 
and thrice must he feel thy sword ere it has power to 
destroy him. A giant though he be, he can shrink to 
a shape as small as that of the tiniest dwar^ and so 
remain concealed and unnoticed till his pursuer passes 
by, and then, reamning his own form, strike at his foe 
unawares." 

"A hard task is before me," said Fidea " How shall 
I jSnd out an enemy who hides himself thus— how dis- 
cover him in his secret haunts ? " 

" Hold up thy guttering sword on passing any sus- 
pected place. If no Untruth lurks there, no change 
will be seen ; but if the shadow of the blade falls near 
the false one, a dark shade will appear on the object 
that conceals him : strike then, strike boldly, and Untruth 
wiUfall!" 

A few more words of counsel from his friend, and 
the champion departed on his way. 



GIANT UNTRUTH, 




Seen from a distance the Castle of Untruth appeared 
like a lordly palace, on near approach it showed like a 
poor-house. What had seemed marble waa now seen to 
be but painted lath ; the stately turrets were nothing but 



60 GIANT UNTRUTH. 

a deceptive wall; the large mullioned windows were false 
ones, admitting no air and no light ; the very bolts on 
the door only seemed to be iron — they gave way to the 
first stroke of the sword. 

But if the outside of the Castle of Untruth was so 
mean, far more so was the dwelling within. No beam 
of day ever struggled into that place, bats hung from 
the rafters above, damp trickled down the green un- 
wholesome walls, the trail of the serpent was upon the 
floor, and the yellow glare of sickly torches rather dazzled 
the eyes than guided the footsteps of the stranger. 
Where is there upon earth a lower, baser spot than that 
where Untruth has fixed his abode ! 

Fides proceeded along a narrow crooked gallery called 
Fear, which occupied a great part of the dwelling; 
through this gallery the giant received countless victims, 
who, lost in its dreary mazes, groped their way into the 
presence of the destroyer. Perhaps Conscience, unseen, 
guided her champion now, for he neither stumbled over 
the obstacles that lay in his narrow path, nor struck his 
helmet against the low roof which seemed ready to fall 
in, nor missed his way in the labyrinth of Fear. 

Just as the gallery ended in a large dimly-lighted 
room, Fides caught a glimpse of the giant before him. 
Never had he seen anything so hateful to the eye, so 
repulsive to the generous soul. None of his race was 
more hideous than Giant Untruth; meanness, cowardice, 



GIANT UNTRUTH. 61 

and cunning were stamped upon his brow; he looked 
like one who would shrink from the light. For a 
moment Fides beheld the giant, then, as if by magic, 
Untruth vanished from his eyes, and the knight found 
himself, as it appeared, alone, to pursue his search after 
his artful foe. 

There were many strange objects in that hall, not one 
of which, when closely examined, looked the same as 
it did when at a distance. Treasures of plate, golden 
vases, candelabra of the same precious metal, proved to 
be nothing but gilded tin; imitation jewels gave a mock 
splendour to the place, and the tables were heaped with 
glittering coins which were only made to deceive. Fides, 
however, amidst so much that engaged his attention, was 
resolved not to forget his first important object, to hunt 
out Untruth wherever he might lie hidden. At one end 
of the hall the knights eye was struck by a very large 
and handsome mask* that rested against the wall The 
features wore a smiling expression, the complexion was 
of a beautiful white; Fides fancied — ^was it only a 
fancy ? — that through the eye-holes of the huge mask 
he saw something moving behind ! 

Straightway he approached it with his wondrous 
sword; even as its shadow fell on the false face a dull 
stain appeared on the whiteness of its brow. Down 

* Hypocrisy, which is appearing to be what we are not, or to feel what we 
do not. 



62 GIANT UNTRUTH. 

came the blow, so heavy and so sure, that the mask in 
a moment was cleft in twain, and Untruth, receiving his 
first wound, rushed forth from his hiding-place and 
vanished. 

This success made Fides more eager in pursuit; with 
rapid step he moved from place to place, examining this, 
glancing under that, keeping sharp watch, like a good 
champion as he was. Now a heap of dresses thrown 
loosely together in a corner excited the suspicion of the 
knight. Amongst them was one cloak* of white fur, 
lined with black, whose massive folds might conceal the 
enemy. The test of the sword was applied to this; dark- 
ness gathered on the whiteness of the fiir, its hue grew 
like that of the lining within, — again down came the 
stroke, again the traitor felt its power, and fled to hide 
for the last time from the invincible sword. 

Fides pursued his search till he was weary, and in- 
clined to rest content with the success which he already 
had gained. He ' had examined every spot, as he be- 
lieved, again and again, had paced through the length 
and the breadth of the hall; was it not possible that 
Untruth was already slain ? He wished to believe this, 
and yet felt a doubt on his mind, which prevented him 
from resting at ease. He sprang up from a heap of 
cushions on which he had been reclining, determined to 

* Equivocation, or speaking truth to the ear, but conveying a false impression 
to the mind. 



GIANT UNTRUTH. 63 

pause no more in his search till the enemy should be 
found. Thrice he passed along the hall, thrice examined 
the gallery of Fear, then returned to the hall disap- 
pointed, but not altogether discouraged. 

Amongst the curious furniture of the place was a 
mirror* which possessed the property of magnifying 
every object before it. It was set so close to the wall 
that there appeared to be room for nothing behind it, 
and thus it aroused no suspicion in Fides. Viewed in 
this mirror, a dwarf would swell to a giant, the smallest 
thing appeared large, the meanest became great — it at 
once magnified and distorted. Fides stood still for a 
moment to look at his image in it, and smiled at his 
own stately height, and the size of the arm which he 
raised. 

" What a mighty sword will mine appear magnified 
thus ! " he exclaimed, as he turned the clear blade to- 
wards the mirror. But scarcely had its reflection ap- 
peared upon the glass, when Fides started to behold the 
gathering stain which dimmed all the lustre of the 
crystal Collecting all his strength for a final blow. 
Fides dashed his good sword against the siuface, shivered 

* Exaggeration, want of exactness in description, distorting tratb, and magni- 
fying facts beyond their proper size. I would especially guard my young 
readers against this most dangerous habit. I have known persons weU edu- 
cated, and no longer children, whose word I could not in the least trust, when 
they gave an account of anything that had happened. The fatal custom of 
exaggerating everything was so strong, that I believe that at length th^y 
actually did not know whether they were speaking truth or not. 



GIANT UNTRUTH. 




the false mirror into a thousand pieces, and slew the 
Enchanter, who, in his narrow recess behind, had been 
laughing at the vain attempts to discover him. Such 
was the end of Untruth. 




TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 




^EAR mother, you look very pale," said Bertha, 
as soon as the tale was concluded. 

" I am not feeling very well, my love; I 

have one of my headaches to-day. Perhaps 

I may be better after dinner." 

"We must make no noise for mamma," whispered 

Laura to Adolphus, as they were summoned by the bell 

to the meaL 

Mrs. Roby carved — that was always her office; in 
every little duty of the kind she spared her husband all 
trouble that she could possibly take on herself. But 
when she had supplied the children's plates, Bertha re- 
marked that she put nothing on her own; she rested 
her head upon her hand, and closed her eyes, as if she 
were in pain. 

"Mamma eats nothing," whispered Laura again, a 
look of anxiety ra her bright little face. 

" My love, are you not well ? " said Mr. Roby, laying 
down his own knife and fork. 

5 



66 TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 

**I do not feel as well as usual," she replied, with a 
faint smile, her face growing paler, her eyes heavier, each 
minute; "I believe that perhaps I had tetter go to my 
own room, I am not good company for you to-day." 

She rose, but almost staggered as she rose, and was 
glad of the support of her husband's arm. Her children 
followed, anxious and unhappy; their mother was ever 
so cheerful and bright, so thoughtful of others and 
neglectful of herself, that they feared that she must feel 
very poorly indeed to leave them thus, and retire to 
her bed. 

" Oh, go back to your dinner, my children," she said, 
with a half- vexed, half-gratified look, as she saw the 
three at the door of her room. *'This is nothing to 
make you uneasy; I only require a little rest and sleep. 
I hope that I shall soon be all right again. Go, return 
to your young guests below." 

Laura only stayed for one kiss, and then went away 
with her brother. Bertha lingered to beat up the pillows, 
bring out the cloak, draw the window-curtains to keep 
out the light, and then, taking the hand of Mr. Roby, 
left her mother to try to get a little sleep. 

Feeling unhappy about her suffering parent, and dis- 
inclined to touch another morsel of her food. Bertha was 
irritated to see Adolphus eagerly helping himself from 
the dish, having taken possession of her mother's vacant 
chair. 



TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 67 

Little was said during the remainder of the meal, after 
which Bertha, creeping with noiseless step up -stairs, re- 
turned with the good tidings that, on gently opening the 
door, she had seen her mother fast asleep. 

"On no account disturb her," said Mr. Roby, rising. 
" I am obliged to go to see a sick parishioner; I depend 
upon the house being kept quiet in my absence." 

" But, papa, it is raining so fast ! " said Laura. 

"Poor Thompson is dying," was her father's reply; 
" if I delay, I may never see him alive. I think your 
dear mother said that she had a little broth ready; I will 
carry it to him myself." 

The Probyns were diverted to see the dignified-looking 
master walk off* in the rain, struggling to hold up an 
umbrella against the wind so as to protect both himself 
and the brown jug in his hand, and picking his steps 
through a river of mud. 

"He'll spill it, to a dead certainty," laughed Con- 
stantine. 

"Td drink it on the way, just to put it out of 
danger!" cried his brother. Their loud rude voices 
sounded in strange contrast to the low tones of the* 
Robys, whose minds were fiill of the illness of their 
mother. 

"Oh, Aleck," whispered Bertha^ goii^g close up to 
her brother, and laying her hand on his arm, "what on 
earth can we do to keep these Probyns quiet ? Unfoel- 



68 TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 

ing boys that they are, what a noise they are making ! 
They will waken poor mamma; they will make her head 
worse. Oh, what are we to do to keep them both 
stiU?" 

"I say, Pro, would you not like to take a book?" 
asked Aleck. 

" You know I hate books — I am going to drive four- 
in-hand," replied the boy, dragging the chairs towards 
the black horse-hair sofa, which he proposed to convert 
into a coach. 

"I'd have a railway-train," cried Constantine; and, 
raising his hands to his lips, he gave a loud whistle, in 
imitation of the sound so familiar to travellers. 

"Oh, be quiet!" exclaimed Laura; "you forget 
mamma !" 

Constantine's. reply was a whistle twice as loud. 

Aleck was about to say something in a high, angry 
tone, but was stopped by poor Bertha's imploring 
look. 

"Can't we make them think of anything else?" she 
whispered hurriedly to her brother; " we might employ 
them in making a kite." 

"A good thought," replied Aleck; "but where are 
we to get the materials ?" 

" You know that you have the laths and the large 
sheets of paper ready, and as for string, there is plenty 
in that drawer, and " — 



TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 60 

"Shall we set to, and make a famous kite?" proposed 
Aleck aloud to his companions. 

To the relief of Bertha, the idea pleased both the 
Probyna; for once in their lives they appeared quite 
agreed. 

" We must have lots of paste, to begin with," said Con. 

" Run to Susan, Lautie dear, and ask her to make a 
little," cried Aleck, Sweet little Laura was ever the 
ready messenger, and had darted off before the sentence 
waa concluded. 

" What a comfort i j i 
Aleck is; I do not 
know what we should 
do without hira ! " 
thought Bertha, as she 
saw him setting about 
the kite-making with 
energy and skill, mak- 
ing even Adolphua 
busy. "Now I can 
slip quietly away, and 
sit at dear mamma's 
door, and watch till mbtha *t sib MOTBra-a iwob. 

she wakes, and get her tea the first moment she want« 
it" 

So there the loving child took her station, listening 
for the slightest sound from within, distressed when any 




70. TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 

loud voice or laugh from below broke the quiet stillness 
of the house. 

"I am afraid that I am selfish, sitting here doing 
nothing," Bertha said at length to herself. **Dear 
mamma is always so active and busy, on Saturday 
evening above aU. There is so much mending to do — 
ah, could I not help her in that ? But I do so dislike 
mending and darning; it is the most tiresome work in 
the world!" The little girl heaved a sigh. "I fear 
that I am in the pit of the giant, but I must struggle 
out of it as well as I can; my work-box is in the 
sitting-room, how vexatious ! I did not wish to go 
there again. Perhaps, after all, the mending may be 
left alone for just this one week." She paused irreso- 
lute, and sighed again. Then words came into her mind 
which had been taught to her by her beloved mother, 
holy words about being "not slothful in business;" it 
was plain to Bertha that Conscience was rousing her to 
work, and, with a resolution worthy of Fides himself, she 
ran down-stairs for the work-box. 

" We must have scissors — scissors ! " were the first 
words with which she was received. 

" Give us your scissors, Bertie ; quick 1 " cried Con in 
a domineering tone. 

Now Bertha disliked the request for more than one 
reason. She did not like the manner in which it was 
made ; she did not choose to part with what she might 



TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 71 

require herself; and she was afraid to trust rather a 
delicate pair of scissors in the hands of rough, "fiddle- 
faddling boys." 

*' Laura, where are yours? they are commoner, they 
are less likely to be spoiled," said she. 

"Oh, I can't find them — Giant Sloth has hid them 
somewhere ! " laughed the child. 

Bertha thought the laugh unfeeling when their mother 
was unwell, and felt provoked at the carelessness of her 
sister. 

" Come, quick, I can't wait — out with your scissors ! " 
repeated Con. 

Bertha gave them, but with no very good gTrace, and 
with an irritated spirit returned to her station at her 
mother's door. Oh, this pit of selfishness ! how hard it 
is to climb out of it, step by step ! 

Bertha now began to think again of her plan for 
assisting her mother in mending, but recollected that all 
the clothes collected for that purpose were in Mrs. Roby's 
own room, which could not be entered without risk of 
awakening the invalid. Bertha felt more glad than a 
perfectly unselfish girl would have been, at being thus 
prevented from attempting a tiresome task, especially as 
there was a very amusing book which she wished to 
finish before Sunday. 

Bertha was soon deeply engaged in her book, when 
she was interrupted by little Laura running up-stairs, 



72 TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 

and saying softly, ''Bei-tie, the boys want your paint- 
box." 

" But they can't have it/' replied Bertha, with im- 
patience ; ''they would make such a mess of all my nice 
paints, and spoil the whole box, that I have been keeping 
so carefully that I have scarcely liked to use it myself." 

" They want it very much ; I shall only have to run 
up-stairs again," said Laura, as she slowly and reluctantly 
descended the stairs with the ungracious message of her 
sister. 

The next minute a door below was noisily opened, 
and Con shouted out in a loud, angry voice, ''Bertha, 
we must have your paint-box ! " 

" Oh dear, he'll wake mamma ! " cried Bertha, in dis- 
tress; " yes, yes, I'll bring it directly, only be quiet," she 
whispered, leaning over the banister. 

" Bertha ! " called a feint voice from within the room. 
The little girl entered it with a noiseless step. " Is any- 
thing the matter, my love ? " 

" Oh no, dearest mamma ; only that boy Gon wanted 
something. I am afraid that he awoke you with his 
loud voice. Do, do go to sleep again ; it will do you 
good." 

Mrs. Roby's eyes closed heavily. 

" Do you feel better, dearest mamma ? " 

" I hope to be better to-morrow," said the lady, 
faintly. 



TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 73 

" May I sit beside you, my own precious mother ? " 
whispered Bertha, her heart growing very heavy. 

" No, no ; go and do what the boys want, my love ; 
I need nothing but rest and quiet." 

Bertha kissed her mother's feverish brow, and glided 
out of the room, but not without the bundle of clothes 
which had been placed on a chair ready to be mended. 
With a sigh she di-ew from her drawer her beautiful 
little paint-box. She -opened it, and taking out the two 
cakes which she most admired, the light blue and the 
lake, put them carefully by amongst her little treasures. 

'' I will save these, at least," she said to herself; then 
fearing lest delay should occasion another loud call from the 
impatient Constantine, she ran hastily down with the box. 

The sitting-room presented such a scene of disorder as 
nlight have been expected, and seemed a copy, in a small 
way, of the hall of Giant Sloth, in everything but its 
stillness. The table was covered with lath and paper, 
cuttings of which strewed the carpet ; books and boxes 
were huddled together on the chaii-s ; and a tangled heap 
of twine lay on the floor, which Laura was trying to 
draw out into some order. Con, with his sleeves tucked 
up and his hands all over paste, of which some had found 
its way to his jacket, snatched the paint-box eagerly 
from Bertha, upsetting, as he did so, the glass of water 
which had been placed ready for the painting. 

'' Why were you so long ? " he cried, angrily^ 



74 TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 

" Your loud voice awoke mamma said Bertha re- 
proactiully ; Aleck and Laura uttered exclamations of 
r^ret 

" Well, I'm sorry for that but it was your own fault 
Why, how's this," added the boy as he opened the box 
"here are two of the best pamts gone' Ha\e jou hid 
them to keep them from us ? he cned, tuining fiercely 
towards the frightened little girl 




Bertha's heart beat quick ; she thought of Giant Un- 
truth, and the gallery of Fear; but whatever other faults 
might be hers, she waa never guilty of this most dis- 
1 one. She did not give an equivocating answer ; 



TRIA.LS AND TROUBLES. 75 

she did not say, ** Perhaps they may be up-stairs," or, 
" I will go and try to find them ; " to the question of 
Constantine she returned a simple truthful " Yes," and 
never had the boy respected her so much before. 

"Well, that's candid, at any rate," he said, with a 
smile ; " but I should not have thought of your being 
up to hiding them." 

" She had a good right to do what she pleased with 
them," observed Aleck ; *' and it is kind in her to lend 
us any of her paints. Here, dear," he continued, ad- 
dressing his sister, laying his hand on the box, which 
Con had placed on the table, ''we shall only want these, 
the yellow and the red; take the box with the rest of them 
up-stairs, they might get spoiled here amongst us, you 
know." 

There was a glow of grateful affection towards her 
brother in the heart of poor little Bertha as she heard 
this proposal, to which, to her surprise, the Probyns 
made no objection. Perhaps there was some good in 
them, after all ; perhaps they thought, from seeing the 
example of Aleck, that it is quite as manly to be con- 
siderate and courteous to a little girl, as to bully, tease, 
and distress her ; that nothing is gained by fretting the 
tempers and embittering the lives of those with whom 
we dwell, while the affection of a young warm heart is 
not a thing to be thrown lightly away. It is doubtful 
whether these thoughts entered the minds of Adolphus 



76 TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 

and Constantine — if they did so, it was probably for the 
first time ; but it is certain that Bertha left the room 
with a feeling of tender, gratefiil love towards Aleck. 
He was making her duty less difficult to her, he was 
helping her out of the pit of Selfishness, he was holding 
out to her grasp the strong cord of Love — she would 
have given up anything to please him. 

" How strange it is," such were the reflections of 
Bertha^ as she commenced her self-imposed task of mend- 
ing — "how strange it is that I should think so much of 
doing a trifle for her to whom I owe everything ! I have 
heard that when I was very ill, as a baby, mamma never 
went to rest, night after night, but carried me about, 
rocking me in her arms, till she was scarcely able to 
stand. How good she has been, teaching me all these 
long years, slow, troublesome pupil as I have been ! 
How often have I wearied her, and tried her patience ; 
looked vexed when she reproved me, and not heeded her 
advice ! Oh, if I were to lose her now ! " The tears 
rose into Bertha's eyes, and her work seemed to swim 
before her. " If I could only be a comfort to her, save 
her trouble, never give her another moment of pain, 
repay — oh no ! I can never repay, but show how I fee) 
all her tender love. Now that she is ill " — here two 
great drops fell on the sock which Bertha was darning, 
and there was the sound of a little short sob, but she 
stifled it lest her mother should hear it. 



TRIALS AND TROUBLES. 77 

Just then Bertha heard voices in the hall. Mr. Roby 
had returned, and with him a medical man whom he 
had met at the cottage of Thompsoa 

'* I should like you to see her. I trust that her in- 
disposition is slight, but " — 

Bertha rose with her finger on her lips, but a little 
noise in the room within showed that precaution was 
not needed. The doctor saw Mrs. Roby, and pronounced 
that her illness was not of an alarming nature ; that it 
had been produced by over-exertion, and that, therefore, 
quiet and repose were indispensable for the present. 
For at least this and the following day, the lady was not 
to quit her own room. 

Great was the relief of her loving family on hearing 
the opinion of the medical man ; a weight seemed taken 
from the heai-t of poor Bertha, but still care and 
anxiety pressed on her mind, greatly increased by the 
thought which was perpetually recurring, — ** When 
mamma is not here to look after us, how shall we ever 
manage with the Probyns ? " 



CHAPTER Vir. 

SUNDAY AT DOVb's NEHT. 



t^oSIS?ERE the words which came into Bertha's mind 
v'^V^ as she opened her eyea on the Sabbath mom- 
• ing. "Ah, I am afraid that I shall not do 
1 to-day ! " was her next feeling. " When 
lamma was with na, sin^ng hymns and 
reading the Bible to us, and telling ua all about holy 
things, then, indeed, Sunday was a happy day ; but now 
I expect nothing but difficulties. I am sure that the 
Probyns will not care to do as we have done, and they 
will not be kept to lessons with papa as they are on 
week-days ; mamma took our Sunday teaching herself. 
Oh, what shall we do without her ! " and, for the first 
time in her life on a Sunday morning Bertha wished 
that the evening had come. 

Yet the sun shone out so brightly, the rain-drops which 
hung from the fresh green leaves danced so gaily in his 
beams, and the flowers gave out such a delicious scent. 



SUNDAY AT DOVE*S NEST. 79 

that it seemed wrong to be dull and anxious when all 
Nature was rejoicing around. Then Bertha had the 
comfort of hearing that her mother had passed a tolerable 
night, that her head was greatly relieved, and her fever 
almost subdued. Laura's face looked like sunshine itself, 
Aleck's manner was even kinder than usual, the breakfast 
went pleasantly over, and nothing occurred to give a 
feeling of discomfort till, Mr. Roby having retired to his 
study, his children and the Probyns were left in the 
sitting-room together. 

" We had better go on as if mamma were with us," 
said Bertha softly to her brother, unclasping her little 
pocket-Bible. " We can repeat our texts to each other." 

Aleck looked doubtfully at the Probyns, who were 
carelessly turning over some books which lay on the table. 
*'We shall hardly get them to do anything," said he. 
** I wonder if they have ever learned the Catechism ? " 

" They won't repeat it to us, if they have. We must 
just do what is right, and leave them alone." 

** I will go to my own room," said Aleck, rising and 
taking his Bible with him. 

" Laura, come and I will show you what verse you 
should learn, and hear your Catechism up-stairs," said 
Bertha, as soon as her brother had departed. 

Laura was looking over the pictures in the "Chil- 
dren's Paper" with Adolphus, and seemed rather un- 
willing to move. 



SUNDAY AT DOVE S NEST. 




" You'd rather atay wifcli us, wouldn't you, Lautie ? " 
said he, playftiUy pinching her rosy cheek. 

" Laura, when dear mamma is not well, we ought to 
act just as if her eye were on us," cried Bertha, with 
some emotion in her tone. 

" She does not want your preaching ; she is not your 
slave I " cried Constantine in an insolent, provoking 
manner, which brought the colour up to the very temples 
of Bertha. 

" Perhaps I ought to go," whispered Laura, trying to 
disengage her little hand from that of Adolphus ; hut he 
only held it the tighter. 



SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST. 81 

"Laura, you know how naughty it is" — began 
Bertha, but Constantine again cut her short, — 

** If you mean to set yourself up as mistress here, you 
will find yourself pretty much mistaken. You'll please 
to march off double quick," and, suiting his action to his 
words, he pushed her rudely out of the room. 

Bertha ran up-stairs, almost choking with passion — 
hot tears overflowing her eyes, burning feelings of anger 
in her heart ; she was ashamed in her excited state to 
appear before either her mother or Aleck, so, rushing 
into her own little room, she flung herself down on her 
bed, and buried her face in her hands. 

" Oh, I do hate them — I can't help hating them ! I 
wish — oh, how I wish that they had never come here ! 
I was wanting so much to do what was right, to be a 
comfort to mamma, and to take care of Laura. What a 
trial this is ! I never shall bear it. I'd rather live on 
bread and water than go on in this way ! " 

She sat up on her bed, and as she did so caught a 
sight of her own face reflected in a glass. She dashed 
away her tears directly. 

" Aleck must not see me ; he would think that 
mamma was worse. Oh, what an ungratefiil girl I am," 
she cried suddenly, " when my precious mother is so 
much better, to let anything fret me thus ! If she had 
been very ill — dangerously ill — oh, that would have 
been a trial indeed ! I must do what papa tells us so 

6 



82 SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST. 

often f/O do — tliink of my blessings rather than of my 
vexations. He says that in every trial which is sent us 
faith will discover some good ; — I wonder what good 
there can be in this ; what good can come from these 
Probyns being here ! '* 

Again Bertha rested her head on the pillow, but she 
was now a great deal more calm. She thought of her 
mother s words, " They are teaching you to know your- 
self;" and she felt that the last few days had certainly 
given her insight into her own heart, such as she had 
never possessed before. "Perhaps, also, I needed my 
patience to be more exercised,*' thought she ; " I require 
a great deal of it now. But it is hard to have such a 
constant struggle — no peace, no quiet, no comfort. Ah ! 
perhaps this is what mamma means to teach us in the 
story of the champion Fides. He was not allowed to 
rest and be idle : when he had conquered one enemy, he 
had instantly to prepare for some brave attack upon 
another. Perhaps life may be a fight all the way 
through. I never thought of that before." 

Bertha's reflections were broken in upon by a little 
soft hand that was gently laid upon hers. 

" I came as soon as I could — indeed I did," said 
Laura ; " but they were so full of play. Oh, you have 
been crying, Bertie !" she added, as she saw her sister's 
face ; " dear, dear Bertie — I am so sorry — I'll come 
directly next time !" The little arms were pressed close 




SUNDAY XT 1>0VE'S NEST. 83 

around Bertha's neck, and the curly head rested on her 
bosom. 

A quiet, peaceful 
half-hour was spent 
tt^ther by the 
sisters. Bertlia 
seemed quite to 
have recovered her 
usual tone of mind. 
A abort time was 
tlien passed with 
their mother ; after 

Wllicb the whole luaamBng. 

family, with the exception of the invalid, proceeded to 
the church of which Mr. Roby was the minister. 

"Here, afc least, there will be peace," thought Berth% 
as sbe entered the walls of the ivy-mantled building, and 
beard the sweet tones of the hymn. But, alas ! even in 
the house of prayer unworthy, unholy thoughts will too 
often intrude. Bertha, accustomed to perfect reverence 
and quiet behaviour in church, was annoyed beyond 
measure at the conduct of the Probyns. Constantine 
was fidgeting, staring about Mm, turning round on his 
seat ; Adolphus yawned loudly and repeatedly during 
the sermon, though preached by her own venerated father. 
The angry emotion which took possession of Bertha's 
mind quite destroyed all peaceful enjoyment of the 



84 SUNDAY AT DOVE's NEST. 




service ; while Aleck, though apparently following the 
prayers very devoutly, as he was accristomed to do, was 
scarcely conscious of the act in which he was engaged, 
but was passing secret comments in liia own mind on 
the shocking behaviour of his companions. He was 
wondering at the neglect of the parents who had brought 
them up, thinking how he would act towards them were 
he in the pla«e of his father, devising plans of very rigid 
discipline, which, as it seemed to him, ought to be 
adopted ; and, in short, was unconsciously quite as in- 
attentive a listener to the prayers as those whom he so 
gtrongly condemned. 



SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST. 85 

This was no longer the case, however, as soon as the 
sermon commenced. With his eye fixed upon his father, 
and his ear drinking in every word which he uttered, 
Aleck forgot even the presence of the Probyns. 

**You must know the sermon by heart, for you 
neither winked nor moved a finger from beginning to 
end, while I was almost asleep!" laughed Adolphus, as 
the children proceeded home together from church. 

" I always write out as 'much as I can remember of 
the sermon between the two services," replied Aleck, who 
was secretly a little proud of his talent in this way. *' I 
write it out, and so does Bertha." 

"Oh, I do but little !" said his sister, who was ever 
on her guard against untruth, even in his least startling 
disguise ; ''sometimes I only put down the text." 

"I shall do less," observed Adolphus, "for I shan't 
put down anything at all." 

" You spoke of two services," said Constantine ; " you 
don't mean to say that you go to church twice ?" 

" Laura does not — she is too little ; but we who are 
older are allowed to do so," replied Aleck, with a little 
testiness in his manner. 

"Oh, but we don't want to be allowed!" laughed 
Constantine ; "I should say that we've had enough for 
one day." 

" We'll stay at home with little Laura," cried Adol- 
phus. 



86 SUNDAY AT DOVE*S NEST. 

Aleck gave a meaning glance at Bertha ; they both 
felt hurt at the indiflference shown to the preaching of 
their beloved father, and they easily mistook this senti- 
ment for one of indignation at the Probyns' carelessness 
on the subject of religion. 

After dinner Aleck went to his room to write down 
the sermon, as usual ; while Laura and Bertha enjoyed a 
quiet, happy time with their mother, who, greatly re- 
covered, was now able to sit up a little in her arm-chair. 

Then, when the soft, musical church-bells summoned 
again to the house of prayer, Aleck and Bertha proceeded 
with their father along the green pathway, overshadowed 
with elm-trees, which led to the little church. 

Bertha was happier during this service than she had 
been in the morning ; but still, though the Probyns were 
not present to distract her mind from holier things, she 
often found her thoughts wandering to the subject which 
so painfully engaged her now. 

"Aleck," said she to her brother, as they walked 
quietly home together, Mr. Roby having remained behind 
to have some conversation with the schoolmaster — "Aleck, 
do you not find it hard not to dislike the Probyns ? *' 

" I do not dislike — I despise them," was Aleck's reply. 
Bertha said no more, but walked on, wondering to her- 
self whether it were as wrong to despise as to dislike ; 
and whether those who were as good and clever as Aleck 
might not look down on the ignorant and ill-behaved. 



SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST. 87 

Her reflections were disturbed by an exclamation from 
her brother, as he swung back their green door, and 
caught sight of the lawn. There were Pro and Con, in 
riotous mirth, rushing along, as far as the narrow space 
would permit, with the painted kite floating in uir above 
them, and little Laura racing at their heels, joining her 
merry voice to theirs. 

" Sunday — a clergyman's lawn — a pretty sight for all 
the village !" cried Aleck, running hastily forward. His 
indignation was greatly increased by his well-founded 
suspicion that the tail of the kite, which had been left un- 
finished the night before for want of paper, had been sup- 
plied from the pages of one of his own well-written copies. 

" You forget where you are — ^you forget what day it 
is !" he exclaimed, laying his hand angrily on the string 
to draw down the kite. 

"Take that for your meddling!" cried Constantine, 
turning fiercely round and striking young Roby in the 
face. The blow was instantly returned, and the next 
moment the two boys were engaged in fight. 

Aleck knew nothing of boxing, and had never had a 
battle before ; his blows were iU-aimed, and, though 
taller than his opponent, he very soon felt himself over- 
matched. Adolphus stood by cheering on his brother, 
and laughing at the misery of poor Laura and Bertha, 
who, at the unaccustomed, and to them most terrible 
sight, ran about in an agony of distress, imploring the 



SUNDAY AT DOVE S NEST. 




boys to desist, anil calling out foi' some one to part them. 
Aleck was on the ground ; he stniggled up a^ain, hia 
face all streaining with ' blood ; Bertha, almost wild at 
the sight, rushed forward and clung to the arm of Con- 
Btantine, again raised to strike at her brother. 

"Unfair! unfair !" gasped Conatantine. 
. "Unfair! two to one!" echoed Adolphus, 

"Shame on you, boys!" cried a manly voice, which 
the children recognized aa Mr. Eoby's. With two ladies 
at his side, he now stood by the lawn ; and the sound of 
a window hastily opened above, showed that his wife 
also, alanned at the sounds from below, was a spectator 
of the painful scene. 



SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST. 89 

In a moment the two combatants fell back, and stood 
panting, flushed and excited, with their hands still 
clenched and their lips compressed, but their eyes turned 
towards Mr. Roby. 

" What is all this about ?" said the clergyman, sternly. 
He had to repeat the question before a reply was given ; 
but then a torrent of answers burst forth at once from 
all the children — each eager to tell his own story. 

'' He hit me "— 

*'He insulted me" — 

*' He was tearing down our kite " — 

** Oh, papa, only see how Aleck has been treated !" 

''Send them away — send those cruel, ciniel boys 
away !" Laura and Bertha could scarcely speak through 
their tears. 

" I will examine into this ; both parties shall be heard. 
Constantine and Adolphus, retire at once into my study. 
Aleck, you had better go into your own room, and let 
Susan see to your huiis. I am grieved that this should 
have happened at any time, but, above all, that it should 
have occurred on a day when you have all met together 
in the house of prayer." 

Aleck, holding his handkerchief to his face, and 
followed by his sisters, ran into the house, and was met 
on the stairs by Mrs. Roby, looking very pale, indeed, 
but more composed than her daughters. She drew him 
into the room which she had just quitted. 



90 SUNDAY AT DOVE's NEST. 

" Laura^ ask Susan to bring some hot water ; Bertha, 
my love, you must not agitate yourself thus. I trust 
that we shall see that little injury is done ; he will soon 
be all right again." 

" I am so vexed, mother, at anything occurring to 
annoy or fatigue you when you are not well," exclaimed 
Aleck, as Mrs. Roby, \rith her cold, trembling fingers, 
gently bathed his face with warm water. 

"Oh, look at his poor eye!" exclaimed the terrified 
Laura ; " will it ever get like the other again ?" 

''Does it hurt you very much, dearest Aleck ?" cried 
Bertha. 

"Oh, I don't care for the pain," muttered Aleck, ^'if 
only he had not had the best of it ; but to be beaten by 
such a boy ! well the time may come " — the rest of the 
sentence could not be heard, but his mother guessed its 
meaning very well. 

"A time may come," she said, in her own gentle 
tones, " when my Aleck may be victor in a far nobler 
fight." 

"0 mamma," cried Bertha, "surely he acted nobly! 
He only fought that wicked boy because he was doing 
what was wrong." 

"If we fight every one who does wrong," replied Mrs. 
Roby, with a faint smile, "we must have to give battle 
to the whole world ; and as we must begin with our- 
selves, I think that we had better proceed no further till 



SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST. 01 

we are conquerors there. Now, my boy, I hear your 
father calling you down-stairs ; as your hurts have been 
attended to, you can go to him at once. I trust that 
this will be the last time that any of his children will 
cause him this pain and alarm.'* 

Aleck departed, and Laura stood crying at the end of 
the couch, upon which her mother had reclined herself 
again. "Mamma^ I was so naughty,'* she sobbed; "I 
would not go with them at first — but somehow — I 
forgot "— 

" You forgot your parents* wishes and your own duty, 
my Laura. But you are so unhappy already — you have 
suffered so much — that I will say no more on the subject. 
Go and look over your pretty *Cliildren*s Paper,* my 
love; and if you could learn a little verse from my 
favourite hymn, it would, be nice employment for Sunday 
evening.*' 

Mrs. Roby's voice was growing faint. Laura bent 
over to kiss her mother, and left a warm tear on her 
cheek. Bertha remained in the room, silent and thought- 
ful, wondering what was going on in the study, and 
what punishment her father would inflict on the offender. 

"I hope that he will be flogged !** at length she ex- 
claimed, unconsciously uttering her thoughts aloud. 

"I do not think so,** said Mrs. Roby; "I believe 
that your father intends to pass over the first offence. 
Besides, your brother may have given provocation.** 



92 SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST. 

"The first offence 1" exclaimed Bertha, her face full of 
anxiety almost amounting to terror; " why, mamma, Con 
won*t be allowed to stop here to fight any more — ^he will 
be sent away to-morrow morning, I'm sure that he will; 
won't he be sent away, mamma?" she continued, in an 
earnest, imploring tone. 

"I do not think so," was again Mrs. Roby's 
reply. 

"Oh, but this is dreadful — dreadful!" cried Bertha, 
clasping her hands; ** he will owe Aleck such a grudge, 
and they sleep in the same room, and they will be 
always fighting, with no one to interfere, for Pro is just 
as bad as his brother. Oh, mamma^ if you had only 
seen him standing by and laughing, and shouting out, 
* Give it to him,' and * Hit him in the eye ' " — Bertha's 
words were interrupted by her tears. 

"We shall find some means, my love, of stopping all 
this; fighting shall not be peiinitted in this house. It 
ill becomes any Christian home; above all, the dwelling 
of a minister of the gospel of peace." 

Bertha had sunk down her head upon her hands; she 
now raised it, tears streaming from her eyes. 

" Mamma^ I shall be afraid even to say my prayers as 
long as these Probyns are allowed to stay here." 

" To say your prayers !" repeated Mrs. Roby in some 
surprise. 

" You have told me that I dare not ask to be forgiven 



SLTNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST. 93 

if I do not forgive, and I cannot — I cannot forgive 
Constantine Probyn !" 

" Bertha^ can a Christian child utter such a word !" 

" I know that it is wrong, but I cannot help it. I 
struggled to keep down my angry spirit as long as he 
was only unkind to me; but to see my own darling 
brother treated in that way — it is more than any one 
could bear." 

" My child, the stronger this feeling is in your heart, 
the more need you have of the assistance of prayer. 
Have you asked for a spirit of forgiveness ?" 

Bertha himg down her head in silence. 

" Have you asked that a better heart may be given 
to those whose faults cause so much pain?" 

*'Pray for the Probyns! Oh, I should never have 
thought of doing that ! I despair of their ever changing." 

" That despair arises from want of faith. Their faults 
have been nurtured by indulgence; the soil, I grant you, 
is overrun with weeds, but that is no reason why we 
should give up its culture in despair. We must soften 
the hard ground by kindness, we must pray for a bless- 
ing on our labours, we must work on in patience, for- 
giveness, and love, and who knows how great our reward 
may be at last!" 

" Do you really believe it possible that these Probyns 
can ever become like Aleck?" 

"Quite possible, my dear, and not unlikely, I trust. 



94 SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST. 

We shall have something to bear from them at first — we 
must look for no sudden change; but even if they were 
never to improve, if they were to remain our daily trial 
for years, should not we, in performing our duty towards 
them, find a sweet satisfaction in the thought that we 
had not sufiered our own passions- to master us, that we 
had fought a good fight with the secret foe within?" 





CHAPTER VIII. 



GIANT HATE. 




LIS. ROBY had judged truly of the intentions of 
her husband. Bertha never knew exactly 
what had passed during his long interview 
with her brother and the Probyns, but she 
soon found both that Constantine would escape 
punishment this time, and also that he was 
not likely to repeat the offence. There was. no more 
fighting between the boys, but there was a bitter, un- 
comfortable feeling, which perhaps was an evil as great, 
because more difficult to be entirely overcome. 

Mrs. Roby resumed her place in the family circle 
almost before her health made it prudent for her to do 
so. Her presence seemed ever to work like a charm; 
before her smile the fierce glance of Constantine grew 
mild, and Adolphus appeared almost agreeable. She 
seemed, like the summer sun, to draw out all that was 
good from the most unpromising soil. Her character 
could not fail to inspire respect, while her unvar^dng 
kindness won affection. Hers was seldom the open re- 



90 GIANT HATE. 

buke before wituesses, to arouse the spirit of pride and 
rebellion; but the quiet word of advice, the gentle warn- 
ing in moments when the heart was softened; and what 
she said, though sometimes little heeded when spoken, 
came back on the hearer's mind. She did not take 
open notice of the too evident dislike between her chil- 
dren and her guests, though she inwardly grieved to see 
how much of an unholy nature remained in those whom 
she had hitherto brought up in peace and love; but she 
had patience — oh, how much patience is needed by a 
mother! — and while she neglected nothing that might 
be a remedy for the evil, she cast her cares upon a 
higher Power, and trusted that she would be helped in 
her labour of love. 

Affairs were in this position at Dove's Nest when, a 
few days after the occurrences related in the last chapter, 
Mrs. Roby produced her continuation of the story of the 

Giant-killer. 

Atant l^ate. 

Deep in the recesses of a wood, not far from the 
Castle of Untruth, a warm, bubbling fountain gushed 
from the earth. Even in the coldest winter, when 
icicles hung from the boughs of the overshadowing trees, 
that spring rose hot and steaming to the light. Some 
said that a subterraneous fire must have given this 
strange property to the water, some that Giant Hate, 
the owner of the ground round it, had mingled in it 



GIANT HATE. 07 

some secret venom. Thus much was known to all, that 
no moss or green herb would grow where the si)ray fell 
from the warm spring of Anger, and that whoever dmnk 
of its waters became at first furious, then helpless and 
feeble, an easy prey to the giant of the place. 

One bright day when the sunbeams bathed the world 
in light, and the little birds sought the shelter of the 
thickest foliage, stilling their songs till the soft evening 
breeze should arise to cool the fierce summer he^t. Fides, 
passing through the depths of the woods heated and 
thirsty, arrived at the fount. He had been passing 
through a difiicult and tangled way, torn by the thorns 
that stretched across his- path, annoyed by the insect 
tribes that haunted the wood, and provoked by the in- 
solence of the inhabitants of the land, who, being them- 
selves the subjects of Giant Hate, annoyed his foe from 
9. distance with poisoned darts, called "bitter words," 
which gave a most painful, though not dangerous wound. 
The lips cf Fides were parched and dry, his shield hung 
heavy upon his arm, and the sound of water as he 
approached the spring made him quicken his footsteps 
to reach it. 

Certainly a sweet, cool stream would have looked 
more tempting to the weary traveller than the heated 
fount, with the light steam curling above it; but, warm 
jis it appeared, it was not too' hot to drink, and Fides 
eagerly scooped up the water with his hand. 

7 



98 GIANT HATE. 

•' Beware !" cried a soft voice in his ear. The knight 
well knew the tones of Conscience; he paused for an 
instant as he knelt by the spring, but whether his thirst 
was too great to bear delay, or whether the fumes rising 
from the tainted fountain of Anger disturbed his judg- 
ment and weakened his power of self-control, putting 
his head down to the level of its basin, he drank greedily 
of the intoxicating waters. 

Their fatal effect was seen only too soon ; Fides started 
up from his knees in wild frenzy — he attempted to draw 
his invincible sword, but that could never be unsheathed 
but in a good cause, and remained fast fixed in its scab- 
bard. Passionately he flimg it from him — ^he tore off 
the armour which he wore, piece by piece, in the mad- 
ness which now possessed him— struck at every object 
that happened to be near — injured himself in his furious 
rage — reason, conscience, all seemed lost in a moment to 
the victor over Selfishness, Sloth, and Untruth. It was 
a sad, a grievous sight to behold in the once faithful 
champion the victim of Hate; either when the poison 
boiled in his veins, flushed his cheek, and kindled a wild 
fire in his eye; or when, exhausted by his own passion, 
the knight sank to earth, helpless, defenceless, with 
scarcely power to move. 

Then darting from the ambush in which he had lain 
concealed. Giant Hate inished upon his foe. In the state 
to which his own folly had reduced him, Fides was un- 



GIANT HATE. 




able to make any resistance. He was bound tightly, 
cruelly bound with corda by the giant, till he could 
scarcely stir hand or foot. Now did it appear to Fides, 
as his reason gradually returned, that he was in worse 



100 GIANT HATE. 

case than when struggling in the pit of Selfishness. Ho 
knew that he was reserved for a cruel death — for these 
giants were never known to show mercy — and when his 
enemy left him in solitude for a while, bitter complaints 
burst forth from his lips. 

" Oh, wherefore did I drink of the fountain of Anger, 
— must 1 perish the captive of Hate ! I, who overcame 
Selfishness and trampled on Untruth ! — I, to whom so 
glorious a reward was ofiered — to whom so faithful a 
guide was given ! Must I now lose all, disgrace the 
name that I bear, and furnish a cause of triumph to the 
enemies of my King ! Oh, Conscience ! Conscience ! would 
that I had listened to thee, that I had never tasted of that 
fatal spring !" 

Conscience, ever near, appeared visible before him; 
but how was her aspect changed ! The stars on her 
brow wore a red, angry hue, the kindly exprt^on of 
her face was altered to one stem and terrible. 

**I warned thee," she cried, ''but thou wouldst not 
hear ! Thou art overcome — disgraced — endangered !" 

"Oh, chide me no mare !" exclaimed the suffering 
knight;' " help me in my weakness, assist me in my 
peril, let me not die in the hands of my foe." 

*'What can I do for thee," sadly replied his guide; 
" 1 have no power to cut the cords that bind thee; Con- 
science alone cannot release from Hate. The invincible 
sword can be wielded but by him to whom it has be^n 



GIANT HATE. lOl 

given at the first — and lo ! thou hast cast it far from 
thee." 

"Bring it back to me, Conscience!" implored the 
fainting knight; "let me at least die with my hand on 
the hilt." 

The bright one obeyed: Fides touched again the in- 
vincible sword, but his weakened hand had no power to 
unsheath it. A little way, indeed, he drew it from its 
scabbard, but not enough to render it of any avail in 
severing the tight cords that bound him. 

" I am doomed, I am doomed!" he bitterly exclaimed; 
"no strength is left in my feeble arm, the poisoned 
waters have done their work." Fides turned his face 
to the ground, and uttered a deep groan of despair. 

"Hope still," cried Conscience; "thou mayst yet be 
freed. See, rising far above all the trees near it, yonder 
fair, stately palm. The name of that tree is Forgive- 
ness, the fruit that it beai's are called Benefits; both they 
and the juice which distils from the stem are a powei'ful 
cure for the poisons of Hate, and destroy the effects of 
Anger. Who knows but that thy strength may be re- 
stored to thee yet, that thou mayst live on for freedom 
and victory!" 

So saying, raising from the gi-ound the bright helmet 
which Fides had cast away in his madness, Conscience 
hastened to the healing tree, and while Fides with 
eflfort and pain still struggled to free himself from 



102 GIANT HATE. 

his bonds, she drew a cooling beverage from the 
stem. 

A wondrous tree was that of Forgiveness; the deeper 
the wound inflicted on its trunk, the richer and freer its 
waters gushed foith, so sweet and pure, that it was a 
marvel that any thirsty pilgrim who knew the refresh- 
ment that they yielded could turn for a moment aside 
to drink at the fountain of Anger. 

Fides partook of the healing jlraught, and a change 
seemed to pass over his whole frame. He no longer felt 
the excitement of fever, or the painful weakness which 
succeeds it — ^his fingers no longer helplessly grasped the 
sword which he could not draw — as well as his bonds 
would let him, he gi-adually unsheathed its blade — once 
more it glittered in his hand; and though the giant's 
cords made it difficult to wield, each effort which Fides 
made rendered the next more easy. He cut the bonds 
one by one, and stood erect, ready once more to fight 
the battles of his King. 

The knight replaced his sword in its sheath, gathered 
up the armour so madly thrown away, and thanking 
Conscience at once for her warning and her aid, prepared 
to seek out Giant Hate and destroy him. 

While fastening his helmet on his head, Fides noticed 
a quiver full of sharp, poisoned darts, which the giant 
had dropped on the ground when he had bound the 
knight by the fountain of Anger. 



GIANT HATE. 103 

" Tlicse are ' bitter words/ " exclaimed Fides, " the 
weapons of the giant and his followers, those which he 
so often discharges at his foes. I have felt their sharp- 
ness before now, and have been tortured by the venom 
which they bear. Now they are in my hand, and I 
can use them. I can launch them with an unerring 
aim at the enemies against whom I am not permitted 
to draw my sword. But let me reflect," he continued, 
still grasping the poisoned darts; "are these weapons 
which it is lawful for me to use? are they such as be- 
come the champion of my King ? Are not * bitter 
words ' strictly forbidden to all to whom the invincible 
sword has been entrusted? Never will I stain my holy 
cause by instruments so unworthy!" he exclaimed, as he 
snapped the venomed darts one by one, and flung their 
broken fragments into the dust. Even as he did so, a 
soft, pure radiance fell around him fdr an instant; it was 
not the glow of the noonday sun, it was not the glance 
of the summer lightning — he knew it for the smile of 
approving Conscience. 

Hardly had the gleam passed away, leaving a sweet 
remembrance behind, when Fides was half-tempted to 
regret that he had thrown from him the sharp weapons 
of Hate. The people of the neighbourhood, long beneath 
the giant's sway, had gathered together to mock his 
opponent, bound and helpless as they expected to find 
bim. On they came with "bitter words," contemptuous 



GIANT HATE. 




looks, and scornful jests ; and though they paused on 
perceiving that Fides was now free, collecting together 
they prepared to surround him, and annoy the brave 
knight from a distance. 

Fides laid his hand on hia sword, but it waa not to 
be moved from its scabbard; it waa given to be wielded 
in fight against the giants of sin, not turned against his 
own fellow-creatures. Fides felt for a moment helpless 
and irreaolute, not fearing death, but insult and pain, 
with the fiery darts which he now might have used lying 
all broken at his feet. 



GIANT HATE. 105 

A moment's reflection, however, restored hope to the 
breast of the knight ; where heaUng had been given, 
refuge might be found; with a bound he burst through 
the circte of his tormentors, and began to climb the tall 
tree of Forgiveness. Rapidly Fides ascended the stem, 
while his enemies gathered round the foot of the tree. 
They beheld him now seated among the branches at the 
top, looking down upon them from the lofty height of 
Forgiveness. 

" Our darts can reach him yet," cried the foremost of 
the troop; and while a rude burst of laughter sounded 
from below, a shower of stones and darts was flung high 
in air, more than one of which struck, and even wounded 
the knight. 

Well then was it for Fides that he had chosen as his 
refuge a tree possessing powers of healing. Rich, ripe 
clusters of Benefits were growing before him ; he hastily 
plucked one, and from the stalk whence it had been 
torn oozed out the precious balm. With one hand 
Fides applied the healing di'ops to his huit, with the 
other he flung down upon his enemies below Benefit 
after Benefit, as fast as he could throw them. Quickly 
the shower of ftnit descended on the heads of the per- 
secuting band ; this was his return to the stones and the 
sharp venomed darts with which they had annoyed him. 

As Fides bent from the branches to mark the success 
of his new mode of warfare, he saw the crowd eagerly 



ion GIANT HATE. 

gather up the ripe fi-uit, and, with a wondering glance 
at the source whence it came, drop their darts to com- 
mence their delicious repast. 

Even as the waters of Anger produced a strange effect 
upon those who drank of them, so Benefits, the fruit of 
the tree of Forgiveness, seemed to work a change upon 
those who partook of them. Insolent looks grew mild, 
angry voices gentle, the storm of passion became hushed 
and stilL The savages themselves broke their darts, 
and gazed up with strangely altered feelings upon the 
champion of order and peace. 

At length one who had been foremost of the band, 
most rude in his insults, most bitter in his words, ad- 
vanced with a frank kindly air, and thus addressed the 
kniglit in the tree : 

** O Fides ! we own ourselves overcome ; thou hast 
returned evil with good, and wrongs with Benefits, thou 
hast weapons wliich none can resist. Think not that 
we now shall be thy foes, or that we willingly bear the 
yoke of the giant He is a tyi-ant, tonnenting and de- 
stroying: there is no sweetness in the waters of Anger, 
no joy in the service of Hate ! Come down, then, and 
attack our enemy and thine ; if we aid not in the fight, 
we wiU rejoice in the triumph. Since we have eaten of 
that tree, all appears in a new light to our once blinded 
eyes; we have learned to distmguish our foe from our 
friend, and we look for our freedom from thee ! ** 



GIANT HATE. 10? 

With a thankful spirit, and hopeful of victory, Fides 
now commenced his descent Scarcely had his foot 
touched the ground, when an exclamation from one of 
his new allies gave him warning of the approach of the 
giant. Fides finnly grasped the hilt of his sword, and 




now, with scarcely an effort of his arm, the good blade 
flashed in the sunlight, as if eager to strike to the dust 



108 CIANT HATE. 

that barbaix)U8 enemy of man. The crowd, gathering in 
a circle, gazed as spectators on the terrible fight. Hate, 
arrayed in a blood-red mantle, with a heavy mace in his 
hand, seemed likely with every blow of his deadly 
weapon to crush the light form of Fides. But the 
champion had a source of strength which failed him not 
in the hour of danger. His helmet was not broken by 
the strokes which fell so heavily upon it, his armour 
gave not way in the fight, and his courage remained 
firm and unshaken. At length, seizing a moment of ad- 
vantage, he plunged his sword into the heart of Hate, and, 
with one cry of dying rage, the giant expired at his feet. 
Then were there great rejoicings amonjgst those who 
of late had suffered from his tyranny. The people 
willingly dug a wide grave in which their tormentor 
should lie buried for ever. Willingly, at the command 
of Fides, they brought heavy masses of stone to choke 
up the fount of Anger. A short time after, no one who 
passed by the place would have recognized the once 
gloomy spot. Where the heated waters had dried up 
the verdure, now the soft moss spread its carpet of 
velvet ; and the fragrant violet and the lily of the valley 
shed their blossoms over the grave of Giant Hate ! 

" This is the strangest story that we have heard 
yet," cried Constantine ; " pelting with Benefits, what a 
curious idea ! " 



GIANT HATE. 109 

*' I should think the vanquished better oft* than the 
victor/' observed Adolphus, '' feasting upon that famous 
fruit." 

" Oh no !" exclaimed Aleck ; " Fides looked down 
upon them all," and he glanced rather contemptuously 
at the Probyns. 

*' You're not Fides, nor anything like him!*' retorted 
Constantine ; and as Aleck felt the warm fount of Anger 
bubbling up in his own heart, he could not deny the 
truth of the assertion. 

'' Oh, Fides did wrong at first," cried Laura; " but 
then he listened to Conscience, and snapped the poisoned 
darts, and climbed up the tree of Forgiveness. I don't 
see why we should not conquer like that brave knight, 
after aU." 

** Conquer our enemies — conquer ourselves," thought 
Aleck, and it struck him how much nobler that conquest 
would be than any of the triumphs of genius. He 
glanced at his sister Bertha, and it seemed from her look 
as though the same idea were crossing her mind ; while 
Constantine was reflecting (for he sometimes did reflect) 
that his own position had hitherto been that of one of 
the mocking crowd; that the power of giving annoy* 
auce is one which we share with the insect and the 
reptile; and that there is something degrading in being 
the slaves of our passions, or the subjects of Giant Hate. 



CHAPTEll IX. 



FAIR GRATITUDE. 




-^nIROM that day the children of the Roby family 
^ firmly and prayerfully resolved to struggle 
against the enemy within, and, if possible, by 
benefits overcome those whom they regarded 
as the enemy without. Instead of exciting 
each other to anger by complaints of annoyance from 
the Probyns, they agreed to unite all their powers to 
render their difficult duty more easy. If gloom gathered 
on Bertha's brow at some unreasonable request from 
Adolphus, the smile of Aleck reminded her of the victory 
over the giant; if her brother flushed at an insolent 
word from Constantine, he caught the quiet glance of 
Bertha's eye, and was silent. 

Where the darts of *' bitter words" are broken and 
thrown aside, passion usually dies away. Aleck and 
Bertha both endeavoured to keep a bridle on their lips, 
and their efforts were not all in vain. Constantine, who 
had some generosity in his nature, grew ashamed of 
offering provocation where none was returned, and Mrs. 



FAIR GRATITUDE. Ill 

Roby, with a delight which few but a parent can fully 
understand, watched the growing improvement in her 
children. Their patience, their forbearance, were increas- 
ing under trial; their virtues were becoming strengthened 
by practice; they knew more of the difficulties of the 
Christian fight, but they also knew more of the spirit 
which overcomes them. 

The Probyns also were not exactly the same as when 
they had first been received into Dove's Nest. It is 
true that we do not uproot in a few weeks the weeds 
that have been sufiered to spread for years — that habits 
of order, obedience, and self-denial are usually of slow 
growth, because not natural to the human heart; yet 
some improvement might be seen, though small, to en- 
courage hope for the future. Adolphus and Constantine 
had been not as those who fall into the pit of Selfish- 
ness, but as those who are bom and brought up in its 
depths. The pleasure of thinking of others, living for 
others, giving up their own will for the happiness of 
others, had been as unknown to these boys as the 
brightness of the sky and the beauties of Nature would 
be to one who had always dwelt underground. They now 
began to have an idea that we are bom for something 
more than merely to eat and drink and amuse ourselves; 
and, with the example of the Robys before him, Con- 
stantine felt sometimes half-inclined to lay hold, like Fides, 
on the twigs of " love of approbation,'' and win praise 



1 12 FAIB CRATITrDE. 

by showing a little kiinlneasi. His motives, however, 
were too weak, his selfishness too strong, for him yet to 
make much progress, and his pride was ever in his way. 

Adolphus. on his part, was certainly more upon his 
guard against the enemy Untruth. He had little neec} 
to search for him behind the mask, for hypocrisy was 
not in his disposition ; but equivocation, usually the 
result of fear, had become, alas ! but too familiar to the 
boy ; while, until he became the pupil of Mr. Roby, 
Adolphus had scarcely ever related an occurrence without 
falling into the error of exaggeration. 

'' There are hundreds of sheep in that meadow ! " he 
exclaimed one dav. 

** Hundreds ! it scarcely appears so to me," was Mr. 
Roby's quiet reply ; '* will you oblige me by counting 
the exact number ? " 

Adolphus, a little annoyed, had to comply; there w^ere 
not more than fortv in the field. 

" Then, taking your statement at the lowest^ your 
hundreds but at two hundred," said the dei^gyman, " by 
how much has the glass of exaggeration multiplied the 
number of the sheep ? " 

" Oh, Tm not half so slow as you think me!" cried 
Adolphus at another time, when some observation had 
been made about learning ; " I can get twenty stanzas 
by heart before breakfast !'* 

** Have you ever tried to do so ?" int^uired Mr. Roby. 




FAIR GRATITUDE. 113 

" Oh, I've done it fifty times !" cried the boy. 

" If you have done it fifty times, you will easily do 
it fifty-one," said Mr. Roby; " I shall expect you to bring 
the stanzas to-morrow morning :" and he rose from his 
seat to take down a volume of poetry from the bookcase. 




The countenance of Adolphus fell; he was ashamed of 
liis silly boasting, and afraid of the consequences which 
it might bring upon him He had no alternative but 
that of either confessing that he had spoken nonsense, 
or studying hard till noon before breakfast could be 
touched; so, mortifying as it was, he chose the former 
course, and was fai- more guarded in his speech in future. 



114 FAIR GRATITUDE. 

Several interruptions had occurred to postpone the 
reading of "the Giant-killer," but one noon, the little 
party being assembled around her, Mrs. Roby continued 
a£f foUows : — 

dfafr 6xatitu'tit. 

The life of Fides was not one of rest : he well knew 
that fresh labours were before him, but his was a joyous, 
gladsome heart; he iclt honoured by the permission to 
serve his King, and to devote his strength to the cause 
that he loved. 

One autumn evening, when the red orb of the sun was 
setting behind a bank of clouds, tipping their edges with 
golden light, as Fides was passing along the side of the 
morass of Forgetfulness, he thought that he heard a faint 
cry. He paused to listen, for by a champion of the 
Truth the voice of distress is never heard in vain. Wide 
and dreary the swamp lay before him ; not a tree broke 
the dismal expanse, but rank weeds grew thick in many 
parts, with rushes that seemed bending beneath the 
white mist that spread like a pall over the morass. 
Their presence betokened that of water ; but no silvery 
sheet reflected the fading splendour of the setting sun, 
th6 mantling green upon the pools shut out the light, 
and filled the air with unwholesome odours. Kemem- 
brance of the past may be painful, when we review our 
mistakes and recollect our errors ; but better, far better, 



FAIR GRATITUDE. 115 

to wander 6ven over the painful desert of Regret, than 
to lose sense of both pleasure and sorrow together in the 
fatal morass of Forgetfulness. 

Again that cry, even more faint than before; but 
Fides felt certain that he heard one. As his sight could 
scarcely pierce the gathering mist, he lifted up his voice 
and shouted. From the swamp an answer was returned, 
as from the voice of a woman in distress. 

" Help ! help !" it cried, " for I am sinking ! In the 
ak)ugh of Forgetfulness I shall be lost." 

Fides hesitated for a moment, then his resolution was 
taken ; whatever might betide him in the attempt, he 
must venture to the rescue of the sinking sufferer. With 
a light and springing step he bounded forward some 
little distance in safety, and could now see, not far from 
where he stood, the form of a woman struggling in the 
swamp. But between her and him lay a part of the 
morass too soft to be traversed securely, though the 
ground upon which the knight rested his foot was firm. 
Then a thought came to the mind of Fides, and he 
instantly acted upon it. The long cord of twisted silk 
and gold, by which he had climbed from the pit of Sel- 
fishness, he had borne along with him ever since, wound 
in many a fol4 round his form. He speedily unrolled 
it, and grasping one ^nd, he fastened his shield to the 
other, and then flung the -buckler, with a strong arm and 
a steady aim, in the direction of the sinking woman. 



FAIR GRATITUDE. 



She touched it, grusped it, laid hold upon it, as one w^ho, 
when drowning, clings for life ; and by means of the soft, 
bright cord of Love, Fides gradually drew her to finner 
ground, where the trembUng one might rest in safety. 




As she thanked him fervently again and again, the 
earnestness of her manner giving force to her words, her 
voice tremulous with emotion as she spake. Fides thought 
that a being more exquisitely lovely his eyes had never 



FAIR GRATITUDE. 117 

beheld. The angel sweetness of her face told of a spirit 
pure, loving, and holy ; every movement was full of grace, 
and it was no marvel that the world, enchanted with her 
beauty, had sumamed her Gratitude the Fair. 

" Gentle maiden !" said Fides, "by what strange mis- 
adventure hast thou fallen into yon dangerous swamp ? '* 

" I was flying from my enemy, from stern Giant Pride, 
from him who seeks to destroy me. The very name of 
Gratitude is hateful to his spirit, he would slay me if he 
could ; or if not, drive me forth to dwell among savages 
or the beasts of the field. Even with bears — with lions 
I would be safer far than with him ! He tracked me this 
evening as, hard by this place, I bore home a large basket- 
full of Benefits, which I had been gathering in order to 
preserve. The instant that Pride saw me, he pursued 
me : I dropped my burden in the haste of my flight ; 
and though I fled yonder where he dared not follow, 
I beheld him with insolent scorn scatter my fruit over 
the waters of the morals. I fear to meet him now on 
my homeward way — I shall perish by his cruelty at last." 

" Fear not, Fair Gratitude," replied Fides; " this sword 
shall be drawn in thy defence ; sooner will I die than 
suffer thee to be destroyed, thou that art beloved of all 
the children of virtue. Let me escort thee now to thy 
home ; then, without delay, will I seek out that giant 
who would sink Gratitude in Forgetfiilness." 

So Gratitude led Fides towards her dwelling, and 



118 FAIR GRATITUDE. 

much they discoui*sed by the way of the giant who was 
now to be overcome. ' 

*' Piide is a prince amongst the giants," said the 
maiden ; " not one has gi*eater power than he. He is 
also one of the most aitful of thy foes ; he can often 
assume the manner and garb of a citizen of thy land, 
and he can speak its language in a way to deceive even 
an experienced ear.** 

" How then shall I know him V asked Fides. 

" He speaks the language well,'* replied the maiden, 
"but yet is unacquainted with the character in which 
it is written. This, Pride has never learnt, and by this 
thoa mayst easily detect him. But there is a friend of 
mine, named Experience, who dwells not very far from 
this place ; when thou hast passed over the hill to our 
right, the sound of his hammer on the anvil will be thy 
sure guide to his forge. From him thou mayst gain 
knowledge more than I can give — he will direct thee to 
the haxmts of the giant. He will also tell thee of a 
marvellous and precious thing, which once belonged to 
the treasury of thy King, but was stolen thence by the 
giant. A high and glorious reward has been offered to 
him who will restore to its rightful owner the golden 
staff of the Will. Mayst thou have strength to wrest 
it from Pride!** 

" And may I be granted strength to free thee from 
thy persecutor!'* 



FAIR GRATITUDE. 119 

" Thou hast ahready slain one foe to me and mine," 
replied Fair Gratitude. " I was long an object of the 
hate of Giant Selfishness, since I helped to fix by his 
fatal pit that cord of Love with which thou hast since 
saved me. Once wa^j I myself almost stifled in the pit, 
but Experience came to my succour." 

" I have often heard of thy name, Fair Gratitude," 
said Fides, " but I never beheld thee before." 

" I have been much talked of in the world, but little 
known," she replied. " Thousands have eagerly promised 
to make me their companion till death, but on their way 
to my home have turned back, or been lost in the morass 
of Forgetfulness." 

By this time the maiden and the knight had reached 
the dwelling of Gratitude. A small, humble abode it 
appeared, with a doorway so low that Fides had to stoop 
his plumed helmet ere he could enter. But no sooner 
was he within the place, than he gazed with admiration 
aroxmd. He found himself in a goodly dwelling, lighted 
by a beautiful silver lamp, which cast soft radiance like 
moonlight; and in diamond letters glittered the word 
"Memory," inlaid in the clear metal. It was the daily 
occupation of Fair Gratitude to keep this lamp perfectly 
bright ; with her own hand she fed it with precious oils, 
which shed a delicious perfiime through the place. 

By the mild light of Memory, Fides beheld that the 
room in which he stood was hung round with exquisite 



120 FAIR GRATITUDE. 

pictures, all of which represented scenes beautifiil to the 
eye and pleasing to the heart. In one a mother was 
tenderly bending over the cradle of a helpless babe ; in 
another, a father, with the best of books open before him, 
was instructing a fair-haired child. One picture showed 
a poor widow receiving aid from a generous friend ; the 
next, a truant led back by an elder companion to the 
path which he had lost, half struggling, half resisting 
and yet clinging to the guide, whose looks told of pity 
and love. An open door led into an inner apartment^ 
even fairer and more preciously adorned than the fiist^' 
into which Fair Gratitude often retired for the purpoee 
of prayer and praise; for this was her dearest occupation, 
this was her highest delight. 

After Fides had passed a short space of time in 
examining the pictures hxmg roxmd the walls, and had 
received from Gratitude minute directions as to the 
way to the dwelling of Experience, who could guide 
him to the haunts of Giant Pride, he took; his leave 
of the gentle maiden. She stood at the doorway to see 
him depart on his dangerous but glorious mission ; and 
there, as she lingered, with the faint moonbeams gleam- 
ing on her lovely form, her clasped hands, and her soft 
flowing hair, Fides thought that she looked like an 
angel of light blessing him before the battle. Still as 
he pursued his onward way, he could fancy that he 
beheld Fair Gratitude yet, trimming and feeding her 



FAIR GRATITUDE. 




silver lamp, and gazing fondly on the pictures that 
reminded her so sweetly of the past. 



. her little chair nearer and nearer 



122 FAIK GRATITUDEL 

to her mother as the description of the dwelling of 
Gratitude was read, and her curly head was resting on 
the knee of her {parent at the close. The Probyns sat 
silent, thinking, perhaps, what pictures Gratitude should 
hang up for them. They had been accustomed to receive 
kindnesses vrith pleasure, indeed, but without any idea 
of keeping a thankful remembrance of those to whom 
they were indebted for them. Pleasures, when once over, 
had to them left nothing behind ; they had not lighted 
the silver lamp of Memory in their hearts to renew joys 
and bring the past back again. They had not yet^ like 
Aleck and Bertha, known the deep, sweet feeling of 
Gratitude, which, beginning with duteous love towards 
the parents who have watched over our childhood, 
extends to eveiy fnend whose kindness has cheered us, 
and rises most noble, most holv in its nature, tow^ards 
the Giver of all that is good. 

WTiere Pride and Sellishness hold their sway, alas! 
too often it is found that Gratitude — a virtue despised or 
unknown — is lost in the swamp of Foigetfiilness ! 



CHAPTER X. 



THE PLEASURE EXCURSION. 




;N the succeeding day, which was the anniver- 
sary of the birth of Mrs. Roby, the children 
were permitted to make a picnic excursion to 
a thicket on Upland Hill, and as it lay at 
some distance from Dove's Nest, a conveyance 
was hired to carry the party thither. 

A small pony chaise was accordingly brought to the 
door, and into it the young people cheerfully hastened, 
provided with a basket of sandwiches, cakes, and bis- 
cuits, and the best fruit which Mr. Roby's garden could 
supply. 

It had been usual for Mrs. Roby to accompany her 
children in their annual expedition to Upland Wood, 
but her place in the small vehicle was now more than 
filled up by the addition of the two young Probyns, and 
she could not therefore join the party without depriving 
some one else of the treat. With many a word of 
advice and kind injunction, she suffered the children to 
depart without her. Aleck, who was exceedingly 



124 THE PLEASURE EXCURSION. 

steady, and had been taught enough of driving to be 
trusted with the reins of such a very cjuiet pony as 
Dobbin, sat in front, with Conatantine beside him, while 
the larger back seat was fully occupied by Adolphus, 
the two little girls, and the basket of provisions. 




Off they drove, a merry little band, and all went on 
well as heart could wish as long as they remained within 
sight of Dove's Nest ; but then Constantine, in hia proud, 
domineeriDg manner, insisted on driving the pony him- 
self. "There is no fun," he cried, "in sitting idle in 
the carnage ;" and he attempted to seize the reins from 
the hand of Aleck. 



THE PLEASURE EXCURSION. 12fi 

Aleck at first resisted, words became high — he had 
been intrusted with the charge of driving- — he would not 
give up his post to another — for aught that he knew, 
Constantine had never touched a rein before. 

"That's little that you know," angrily retorted young 
Probyn ; " I've driven my father's two spanking grays, 
rather different from this wretched little pony !" 

Aleck had never known Constantine guilty of an un- 
tiiith, and therefore, though surprised, did not doubt his 
assertion. The fact was, that both Constantine and his 
brother had more than once been allowed to hold the 
reins, while the powdered coachman sat beside them on 
the box, watchful to prevent any mischief from ensuing 
from the indulgence granted to his young masters. 
Aleck now, sorely against his will, relinquished what 
was to him a great pleasure, to prevent the pleasure of 
the expedition from being marred by anything like a 
quarrel at the outset. 

His little act of self-denial seemed, however, at first 
to have small effect in preserving peace, for no sooner 
had Constantine gained the driver's seat, than Adolphus, 
who was as ambitious of the place as his brother, and 
even more selfish in his disposition, began to urge his 
claims, and struggle to enforce them. 

*' Let Con drive to the wood," said Aleck, turning 
round where he sat, and laying a firm hand upon the 
shoulder of Adolphus, who was in the act of clambering 



126 THE PLEASURE EXCURSION. 

over from the back seat ; " I will take care that you 
have the reins on your return, if you wish them ;" and, 
only half satisfied with this assurance, young Probya 
fell back into liis former place. 

But the incapacity of Constantine as driver was 
pretty soon evident to all the party. Aleck, seeing his 
ignorance, offered a few hints, but the proud boy dis- 
dained to take advice, and only further betrayed his 
want of skill. Dobbin, indeed, was the most quiet of 
ponies, and had his rein been a silken thread, held in 
the little hand of Laura, he might have proceeded 
very soberly in his own way, and landed them all safely 
at last. But Dobbin did not understand being beaten, 
and having his mouth pulled hard at the satne time ; he 
did not know whether he was intended to go forward or 
to go back, and probably not wishing a long drive -with 
such a charioteer, he very obstinately decided upon the 
latter. Instead of proceeding to Upland Wood, ho half- 
turned the carriage round, and, amid the sound of Con- 
stantine's blows. Bertha's entreaties, Aleck's advice, and 
exclamations of alarm from little Laura, Dobbin fairly 
won the victory, for he backed the chaise into a ditch 
and overturned it ! 

A spectator might have been disposed to laugh at the 
'icene, as, except a strain of the left shoulder which Con- 
stantine received, and a few slight bruises to the other 

oys, none of the party were injured at all. 



THE PLEASURE EXCUBSION. 




They all scrambled out of the ditch as well as they 
could, Aleck and Adolphus laughing and joking on the 
fimny appearance which they presented, but Constantine 
rising from the mud in . a little pain and a very great 
passion. Bertha quieted the fears of her little sister, 
smoothed her own crushed bonnet, and turned with a 
smile to the boys, who were endeavouring to drag the 
carriage out of the ditch, while Dobbin, a little heated 
with his exertions, stood very patiently by. 

" Oh, but I say, this is no joking matter !" exclaimed 
Adolphus, stopping in the middle of a jest, when he saw 
the basket of provisions half-covered with mud in the 
ditch — all the preparations for the picnic quite destroyed. 

Every one looked grave at the sight, until the piteous 
expression of little Laura's &ce tickled the fancy 



128 THE PLEASUBE EXCURSION. 

of Aleck, and made him laugh in spite of the mis- 
fortune. 

" I vote that we go back for more," said Adolphus. 

" No !" exclaimed Constantine, in an angry and deter- 
mined tone, for he had no wish to meet his tutor or 
Mrs. Roby at that moment ; he felt that he had been 
playing a ridiculous part, and he could not bear to be 
laughed at. 

*' We'll do very well till dinner-time," said Aleck ; 
"there are plenty of blackberries in Upland Wood; 
we'll picnic upon them and contentment." 

By this time the boys had succeeded in dragging the 
little chaise out of the ditch, but so bedaubed and be- 
spattered with mud, that Bertha and Laura felt hardly 
inclined to get into it. 

" We'd better walk home, perhaps," half whispered 
the latter to her sister. 

" Nonsense ! get in, will you !" growled Constantine. 
" Pro, leave that basket alone ; there's nothing there fit 
to be eaten, even by a glutton like you." 

"Glutton!" exclaimed Adolphus, angrily; "no one 
likes to see his dinner in a ditch. I think that it would 
have been better for you to have said nothing about the 
matter, as it was you who brought us into this pickle !" 

" It was that brute of a pony ! " cried Constantine, 
savagely ; " if I won't give it to him ! Where's the 
whip!" 



THE PLEASURE EXCURSION. 129 

# 

'* In my hand/' said Aleck, calmly but firmly, " where 
it shall remain for the present." 

Constantine looked ready to spring at him ; but there 
was a quiet determination in him who held the whip, 
which showed that Aleck would now be as resolute in 
keeping his proper place as he had before been good- 
natured in yielding it. 

"Con, you shan't drive any more," cried Adolphus ; 
'* we've had enough of ditches for one day." The looks 
of the girls expressed much the same as Probyn's words. 
• " I wouldn't drive such a mule !" said Constantine, 
contemptuously ; " Aleck is heartily welcome to make' 
what he can of it ; we shall never arrive at the wood." 

Aleck jumped up in front, Adolphus beside him — the 
latter never offering to drive, as, after what had occurred, 
he stood rather in awe of the pony. Constantine looked 
as if he were doubtful whether he would enter the chaise 
at all ; and it would have been well for the pleasure of 
the party had he decided on not doing so, for he came 
in with the manners and in the temper of a bear, 
squeezed Bertha up into a corner, half crushed Laura's 
little foot, and never opened his mouth but to say some- 
thing provoking. 

"We shall have to fight with Giant Hate all the 
morning," thought poor Bertha ; " the tree of Forgiveness 
is very hard to climb — almost more so than the pit of 
Selfishness. How I wish that there were some way quite 

9 



130 THE PLEASURE EXCURSION. 

to choke up the fount of Anger in our hearts, so that 
it should never come bubbling up again !" 

The little girl was in the position of one fighting and 
struggling against an enemy almost too strong for her ; 
but she had broken the venomed darts; to the many 
** bitter words " of Constantine, she returned not one. 

It by no means improved the temper of the boy to 
see how quietly Dobbin trotted on with his new driver ; ' 
he scarcely needed a touch of the whip, and, in spite of 
what Constantine had foretold, they did arrive safely at 
the wood. This was a great relief to Bertha, for here 
the children separated at once. The Probyns went off 
in different directions to search for blackberries, which 
were abundant ; Aleck, after tying up Dobbin, for whom 
Laura delighted to gather long handfuls of grass> 
mounted the hill to enjoy the fine view from the top ; 
and Bertha, now feeling like a bird set free, began to 
look round for wild flowers. 

"Laura, pet, you must help me to gather some," she 
said, " to make a beautiful crown, as we did last year, to 
give to dearest mamma on her birthday." 

" Oh yes," cried Laura, eagerly ; and first giving 
Dobbin's rough coat a friendly pat, she ran off to assist 
her sister. 

" Look what beauties I have found ! " said Bertha ; 
" we have no such wild flowers near us. Is it not for- 
tunate that my own little basket was not crushed when 



THE PLEASURE EXCUKSION. 131 

the chaise was upset, I brought it on purpose for the 



"Ah, the poor basket in the ditch!" laughed Laurtb 
"I ahnost thiuk that it would have been better for us 
if the empty basket had been crushed, and the fiill 
basket saved. Pro would think so, I am sure of that !" 

A happy time it was for the little girls, as they puiv 
sued their pleasant 
occupation, consulting 
together whether red, 
white, or blue flowers 
should have the prin- 
cipal place in the 
crown, and which 
was the prettiest, and 
imagining how pleased 
their dear mother 
would be when their 
present was placed 
before her. Their en- 
joyment was increased when Aleck retiumed to them, 
bringing blackberries which he had gathered for his 
sisters ; he also plucked for them some wild roses which 
were beyond their reach, to add to their floral treasures. 

He had scarcely left them, in order to try a new path 
in the wood, when a far less agreeable visitor, Constan- 
time, made his appearance. It was like a cloud coining 




132 THE PLEASURE EXCURSION. 

over sunshine to the little girls when, bending over their 
basket now almost filled with flowers, they heard his 
unwelcome step. 

" Oh ! you've a basket — just what I want," said he ; 
" there are lots of blackberries here. I'm going to gather 
a great many, but I've nothing to put them all into." 

" Oh ! — but my flowers — ^they are for mamma — ^pray, 
pray leave it alone !" cried poor Bertha, as his rude 
hand was laid on her basket. 

** Trumpery and trash !" exclaimed the petulant boy, 
making a scatter of the flowers as he raised it. 

" It's Bertha's basket, not yours !" cried the indignant 
Laura ; "if Aleck were here, you would not dare " — 

" Not dare !" he exclaimed, seizing her roughly by 
the shoulder. 

" You shall not hurt my little sister," cried Bertha^ 
catching hold of his arm. 

Constantine shook her off" with such violence that she 
fell and struck her head against a large stone, a blow 
which produced for some moments sharp pain, though 
not drawing any blood. Bertha began to cry. 

" Baby that you are, there's nothing to whine about !" 
cried Constantine, who, between the mortifications of 
the drive, and his self-reproach for his own ungenerous 
and cowardly conduct, was now in extremely bad 
humour. Discontented with himself, he was so with ail 
the world ; for his pride, preventing him fi:om owning 



THE PLEASURE EXCURSION. 133 

the real regret which he felt, led him further and further 
into wrong ; so he walked away now with a heart fiill 
of bitterness, much more to be pitied than the child 
to whom he had oflFered such unprovoked unkindness. 

"Bertie, darling Bertie, don't cry, please don't!" 
exclaimed Laura, herself almost in tears ; '* I hope that 
it doesn't pain you much, does it, dear, dear Bertie ?" 

*'Not so much now; just at first, dear," replied Ber- 
tha, stooping to kiss her little sister fondly, and hastily 
wiping her own eyes. 

" Oh, what a bad, bad boy he is ! I do dislike him 
with all my heart !" cried Laura, clenching her little 
hand, and looking very indignantly after Constantine. 
" I wish I were strong enough to beat him !" 

" Mamma would say that we showed ourselves much 
stronger in forgiving him. We must not be overcome 
by evil, dear Lautie ; remember what papa preached in 
his sermon." 

" If Con only said that he was sorry " — 

" We must make him feel sorry, whether he says that 
he is so, or not. You know in what way we can do 
that — how Fides threw down Benefits on his foes." 

" Are you not angry with him, Bertie ?" 

" Yes ; I can't help being a little, but I am struggling 
against the anger. I felt much worse after he had hurt 
our dear Aleck. It is easier to forgive unkindness to 
one's self. And, after all. Con has seemed improved 



134 THE PLEASURE EXCURSION. 

lately ; perhaps he has been trying to clamber out of the 

pit" 

** He has fallen down then to the bottom, to the very 
bottom^'* repeated Laura^ with emphasis. 

" Then how vexed he must feel, when he had got up 
a little way ! We all know how hard it is to climb, 
with Giant Selfishness at the top always trying to push 
us down again. But. now, darling, help me to pick up 
these poor flowers ; we cannot carry them so well as in 
the basket, but still we may tie them up in nosegays, 
and make a crown yet for mamma" 

A very sweet feeling came over the spirit of little 
Bertha ; perhaps Conscience was smiling upon her, per- 
haps she was feeling the soft balm of the tree of Forgive- 
ness destroying the effects of the warm fount of Anger. 

Bertha and Laura were busy collecting the scattered 
blossoms, when they were startled by Adolphus running 
suddenly towards them, excitement in his manner, alarm 
on his face. 

"Oh — come, come!" he breathlessly cried; "poor 
fellow, I fear that he has knocked out his eye !" 

Both the girls uttered^ an exclamation of horror. 
"Aleck — is it Aleck?" cried Bertha^ clasping her hands. 

" No, no ; it is poor Con," said the panting boy. " He 
was gathering blackberries, and he pushed aside the 
bough of a tree, and it started back and struck him 
just on the eye. You never saw what a way he is in !" 



THE PLEASURE EXCUESION. 




v^^-iSi, 



Bertlia and Laura^ guided by Adolpbus, quickly 
hastened to the spot, where they found Constantine 
stampiag with pain, and holding to hia eye a handker- 
chief stained with blood. Hia cry of anguish had brought 
Aleck, who happened to be near. Pity now quenched 
the last spark of anger in the breasts of the Robys, 

"Oh dear! — oh dear I — if he should be blinded I" 
exclaimed Laura. 

"Do you know if the eye itself is hurt ?" said Bertha 
anxiously to her brother. 

" I do not know — he will let no one touch it We 
had better put him into the chaise directly, and drive 
him to the doctor's ; it is all on our way home." 



136 THE PLEASURE EXCURSION. 

" Quick, quick ; let us go 1" cried Bertha; and, neglect- 
ful of flowers, basket, blackberries, and everjrthing else, 
the children hurried into the chaise. Constantine doubled 
himself up in the back seat, rocking himself backwards 
and forwards, and sometimes uttering a moan ; Bertha 
watched him with pitying eyes; Laura's murmur, "Poor 
Con! poor Con!" were the only words uttered, while 
Aleck urged on Dobbin to such a pace as quite astonished 
Adolphus. 

Happily they found the doctor at home, who im- 
mediately examined the sufferer. Constantine could 
hardly endure to remove the handkerchiej^ and expose 
his streaming eye to the light. It was too true that the 
blow had injured the eyeball itself, though the doctor 
hoped that the hurt was only of a temporary nature, and 
that if Constantine were kept for some time in a dark- 
ened room, and such remedies applied as were required, he 
might entirely recover the use of his eye, and not a trace 
of the accident remain. 

This was a comfort, but poor Constantine appeared as 
though he could receive no comfort. As again, with 
bandaged eye, he returned to the chaise, he looked so 
pale, so imhappy, in such pain, that it was with a 
manner almost as tender as it would have been towards 
Aleck, that Bertha made his seat as comfortable for him 
as she could. 

More trouble awaited the party on their return to 



THE PLEASURE EXCURSION. 137 

Dove's Nest. Mr. Roby met them at the gi*een door 
with the news that his wife had been suddenly ciiUed to 
attend her father, who had been taken dangerously ill 
with a fit. She had hurried away in the farmer's cart, 
for no other conveyance could at once be procured, to be 
in time for the next train starting for London. Many a 
fond message she had left for her children, as she de- 
parted with a very heavy heart, scarcely hoping to find 
her dear parent alive. 

" It is very, very difficult to feel that all things are 
for the best," said Aleck to Bertha, as they retired from 
his room, after shutting the shutters for Constantine, and 
leaving him to try to get a little sleep after the suffering 
and fright which he had undergone. 

"Grandpapa may recover," suggested Bertha. 

** I trust that he will; but what a time we shall have 
of it while mamma is away ! The doctor says that Con 
must be kept in a dark room and on low diet for a fort- 
night; how is he likely to stand that, he who can never 
bear for his will to be crossed for a moment ! It seems 
as if troubles were coming so thick upon us." 

"And yet we may be sure that it is for the best," 
said Bertha, softly. " We must believe that now ; per- 
haps one day we may know it." 



CHAPTER XL 



THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. 




LL for the best ! — yes, doubtless it is so," 
thought Aleck, as he watched the conduct of 
Bertha during that long, tedious fortnight. It 
seemed as if the necessity of thinking for others, 
of working for others, and at the same time 
fighting against besetting sins, had made the 
little girl several years older in that short space of time. 
Aleck had looked upon Bertha, before the arrival of the 
Probyns, as a nice little playmate, very willing to oblige 
him, and, though possessing a temper by no means per- 
fect, very seldom letting him suflfer from it. He had liked 
her then, he now respected her. He had felt her then 
inferior to himself; not only far below him in powers of 
mind, but with a disposition naturally less sweet, and an 
inclination to indolence, which prevented her from mak- 
ing the best of what abilities she had. Now he regarded 
his sister in quite another light ; and if the Probyns had 
improved Aleck in outward behaviour, by obliging him 
to be careful of his words, and to avoid all vanity and 



THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. 139 

affectation of manner, which exposed him to their 
ridicule, Bertha was influencing him by her example in 
another way, for the observant boy could not help feel- 
ing that in the Christian fight his sister was the firmer 
champion of the two. As the rice-plant is said to grow 
with wonderful rapidity in the rainy season, that it may 
keep its head ever above the waters rising around it, so 
the troubles and difficulties that beset her made the 
character of Bertha rise. 

There were so many little things for her to do in the 
absence of her mother, that Bertha felt as though she 
never could manage them alL Thus the first foe which 
slie had to overcome was Sloth ; and the child rose an 
hour earlier than usual, that she might write to her 
mother and attend to her father's comforts without en- 
croaching on other duties. She knew that her own 
lessons and Laura's should be learned; she set the latter 
her little tasks, and cheerfully undertook the tiresome 
business of teaching, though Laura, lively, playful, seldom 
giving her attention, was a pupil to try the patience of 
a much older instructress. 

Then Constantine, poor unhappy Constantine, shut up 
in darkness and fed on beaf-tea, became Bertha's peculiar 
charge. Adolphus took care to avoid going near him 
when he could help it ; — " He is as peevish as a porcu- 
pine !" said he. But Bertha, as though all his rudeness 
and unkindness were forgotten, gave much of her time 



THE PRISONER IS DARKNE3S. 




to beguiling the weary days of the poor prisoner. She 
altered her own study time and Laura's — at do smaU 
sacrifice of her convenience — that when Aleck and Pi-o 
were at lessons with Mr. Roby, Constantine might 
not be left alone. ■ She chatted with him cheerfully, 
told him stories that she had heard, sang to him songs 
that her mother had taught her, and sitting close to 
the window to make the most of the little light which 
struggled in, read to him till both eyes and voice were 
tired. 

By this arrangement Bertha lost much of Aleck's 
society ; she had to learn lessons when he was free to 
play, and sadly disinclined was she often to study, ajid 
perhaps even more so to teach, when already weary with 



THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. 141 

amusing Constantine, and longing for a merry game 
with her brother. But Bertha's earnest prayer when 
she rose in the morning was that she might be enabled 
to fulfil the duties of the day; and each night, as she 
laid her tired head on the pillow, she felt thankful for 
the help that had been granted her. Angels look with 
more pleasure upon the efforts of a little child to over- 
come temptation and to serve her heavenly King, than 
upon the proud trophies of earthly conquest, the deeds of 
daring of earthly heroes. 

And how felt Constantine during this long fortnight ? 
Had his accident been to him all for the best ? It was 
so, for he was thus given time to reflect, his mind was 
forced back upon itself ; he might do wrong still, but he 
no longer could do so thoughtlessly. He was struck by 
the difference .between the behaviour of the Robys and 
that of his brother towards himself. The latter shunned, 
the former sought his society ; and no self-love could 
blind Constantino to the fact that it could be from no 
pleasure that they found in it. Why did Bertha never 
reproach him with the past? — why did Aleck employ all 
the resources of his fine memory to amuse one who had 
treated him with insult? Were they not showering 
down Benefits jfrom the tree of Forgiveness ? — was he not 
standing like one of the savages at the foot of it, looking 
up ? for he could not avoid looking up at those whose 
conduct raised them above him. This was a grating 



142 THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. 

reflection to Constantine, but he could not drive it from 
his mind 

Did he feel grateftd ? Perhaps he felt gratefrd; but if 
so, something prevented him from showing that he did 
so. He did not like to fancy himself indebted to any 
one ; the idea made him irritable and peevish. Then, 
when his heart reproached him for rude words to the 
kind girl who never returned them — who was leaving 
the sunshine and flowers that she loved, to sit in a 
gloomy apartment with him — Constantine had an uneasy 
remembrance of what had been read about Gratitude 
being chased into the swamp of Forgetftdness. He did 
not choose to examine his own heart sufficiently to 
ascertain whether anything like this could be the case 
with himself, but he felt somehow or other discontented 
with his own conduct — he began to suspect that there 
was something wrong in his character ; Conscience was 
awake, and making her voice heard. 

One day Aleck entered the room where Constantine 
was sitting gloomy and thoughtftil, scarcely listening to 
the book which the patient Bertha had been reading to 
him for more than an hour. 

"Good news!" he exclaimed; "another letter from 
mamma ! The best account of grandpapa which we 
have yet had ! The doctors say that he is now quite 
out of danger, and mamma feels so much happier about 
him, that she hopes to be here the day after to-morrow." 



THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. 




Bertha clapped her liands with an exclamation of 
pleasure ; and Laura, who was playing with her doll in 
a comer, jumped about the I'ooin in delight, 

"Mamma's coming back! — mamma's coming back I" 
she cried. "Oh, she will have been a whole fortnight 
away ! It has been like a year — I have missed her 
so!" 

" I wonder," thought Constantine, " if I were to go 
away, if any one would be sorry, or miss me." The 
answer which Conscience returned clouded his brow 



144 THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. 

with a frown, which to the Robys, who knew not its 
cause, seemed like an unkind refusal to share in their 

joy. 

" Bertha," said Aleck, " papa has given me leave to 
walk over to the farm to order a cream-cheese for 
mamma. The weather is so delightful to-day, and the 
walk is so pleasant over the fields, would not you like 
to come with me ?" 

"Very much ; but I have all my lessons to learn, and 
to hear Laura the multiplication-table." 

" Not done them yet — Show's that ! they used to be 
all over by this hour. Why, what have you been about 
all the morning?" 

Bertha glanced at the book which lay on her knee, 
and then at Constantine, who felt her silence more than 
he would have done any words. 

** I might make some trifling return," thought he, " I 
might offer to hear little Laura, but — " Ah, what was 
the feeling that prompted that but? — the same which 
tried to stifle aU emotions of gratitude, the same which 
made Constantine ashamed to own that he knew that he 
had behaved ill towards those who repaid all his in- 
solence with considerate kindness. 

"I will take the multiplication-table in hand," said 
Aleck, gaily, "and the spelling lesson besidea Here, 
Lautie pet, put down your doU, and look like a sober 
little student, and tell me if twice two makes three. 



THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. 145 

Don't hurry with your own lessons, Bertie dear; Til wait 
for you — we shall have plenty of time for our walk." 

Constantine's opportunity was lost, and he felt more 
angry with himself than ever. 

The next day the doctor paid Dove's Nest a visit, 
looked at the injured eye, and declared it to have so far 
recovered from the blow, that though reading and writ- 
ing were to be avoided for the present, Constantine 
need no longer be considered as a prisoner. The look of 
honest pleasure and sympathy on the faces of the Robys 
touched him more than he would have chosen to own ; 
he felt for a moment inclined to thank them for their 
kindness, then, as if a seal were on his lips, he pressed 
them together and was silent. 

But Constantine and his brother could not avoid being 
participators in the pleasure with which Mrs. Roby was 
welcomed back on her return. They shared with her 
children in making the garland which was suspended 
over the entrance of Dove's Nest ; they crowded with 
them to the green door when the sound of wheels was 
heard ; and though Laura had the first kiss, and Bertha 
the first smile, while Aleck's hand was pressed in his 
mother's, the Probyns were not forgotten at the moment 
of arrival ; and in the little remembrances which she 
had brought from London, Mrs. Roby made them share 
alike with her children. Kind inquiries after Con- 
stantine's eye were uttered in the same tone of aifec- 

10 



146 THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. 

tionate interest as they might have been spoken by his 
mother. Oh, how much was there to tell, and how 
much to hear on the first evening of Mrs. Roby's 
arrival ! 

If one of the party was more happy than all the rest, 
it was Bertha: her young heart was bounding with de- 
light ! It was not only that she could again rest her 
head on that kind bosom, kiss that dear hand, and listen 
to the voice that she loved; it was a consciousness that 
her own affection had been tried and proved — that her 
mother would find that work had been done, and duties 
performed, as carefully in her absence as though she had 
always been near — that her mother would feel that her 
child was to be trusted, that she had indeed done her 
best to be a comfort to her parents. 

"Now for the Giant-kiUer ! " exclaimed Laura the 
next day, as, seating herself on Mrs. Roby's knee at the 
usual reading hour, she watched the opening of tlie well- 
known volume. 

"Had you time to prepare another chapter for us, 
mother, in the midst of aU your anxieties ? " said 
Aleck. 

" One more chapter, my boy, and the last." 

"The last !" exclaimed every one in the room. 

"Why, we have not half done with giants," cried 
Aleck; " I could name a dozen more at least. There's 
Stupidity "— 



THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. 147 

"Self-conceit," cried Adolphus. 

** Cruelty," joined in Bertha. 

"Disobedience," added Laura. 

" Yes, my children, there are many more giants to be 
slain; but I think that my tale has explained to you 
sufficiently the nature of our fight, and of the enemies 
to be subdued, to enable you to find them out for your- 
selves. Let each search his own heart carefully — our 
heai-ts are our chief battle-ground — and having dis- 
covered what sins most easily beset him, let him apply 
himself resolutely, with watchfulness and prayer, to 
overcome the evil principle within." 

"To-morrow is Sunday," observed Aleck; "I have 
just been thinking of something to vary the holy occu- 
pations of the evening. Suppose that we all sit round 
the table as we are doing now, each with a pencil and 
paper; you will give out the name of some enemy, and 
we will write down examples from Bible history of those 
who conquered, and those who were conquered by it; 
then we will give in our papers to you, and they will 
be read aloud in the hearing of all." 

"Not a bad idea^" replied Mrs. Roby. 

" But I can't write," suggested little Laura. 

"You shall think, then, without writing," said her 
mother, "and tell us upon what characters you have 
fixed, before any of the papers are read." 

" I know what I should write if Hate were the enemy 



148 THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. 

named," cried Adolphus; "King Saul was overcome by 
it quite !" 

"And who conquered the evil passion?" inquired 
Mrs. Roby. 

" David ; at the cave of Adullam ! " replied Aleck. 

"Several examples might be given," said his mother; 
"we will certainly try your new Simday recreation to- 
morrow. And now to proceed with my tale." 



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CHAPTER XII. 

[ides rested for some hours that night in a smaU 
hut by the wayside, which he found deserted 
and empty. He awoke in the morning re- 
freshed, and, girding on his sword anew, set out 
in search of Experience. He walked on for 
some time without meeting with any adventure, until 
he judged that he must be near the forge; but before 
proceeding further he sat down near a small stream, 
which flowed brightly over pebbles and sand, reflecting 
the emerald moss that clothed its banks, and the willows 
that bent over its waters. 

Here Fides laved his hands and his face, and stretch- 
ing himself full-length on the turf, enjoyed the stillness 
of the scene. 

" A fair sky above, a goodly carpet below, and plea- 
sant meditations for thy companions ! Thou hast well 
chosen thy place of repose, brave champion, and well 
earned thy moments of rest !" said the voice of some one 
behind him. 



GIAUT PEIDE. 




Fides lifted up his eyes and beheld oeax him a tall 
stately figure, clad like himself in the armour of a kuight, 
but bearing, instead of a sword, a massive crooked sta^ 
which appeared to be made of some dark heavy metal 

"Dost thou come bb friend or foe?" exclaimed Fides, 
springing up, and instinctively laying his hand on the 
hilt of his sword. 



GIANT PRIDE. 151 

" I am a friend to all gallant spirits like thee." 

" And a servant of my King ?" 

**At least the enemy of those who are his foes," re- 
plied the stranger knight, evading the question. He 
threw himself carelessly down on the turf, but Fides^ 
whose mind was not quite satisfied yet, remained stand- 
ing until his further inquiries were answered. 

"Thou hast not a sword !" 

" I have left it at home — none can use it more skil- 
fully than I; but in its place I at present cariy this 
weighty staff, which I have found at least equally suc- 
cessful in slaying the giants whom I have encountered;"- 
and as he raised his strong arm, and shook the staff on 
high, a deadly weapon it appeared in his hand. 

"What giants hast thou slain?" inquired Fides, with 
a growing respect for his companion. 

" I crushed Meanness with one blow of my staff — ^he 
never spake a single word after; I drove Gluttony to 
hide in caves and holes; I penetrated the strong fort of 
Avaiice, and forced him to yield up some of his trea- 
sures; I killed Cowardice, and cut off his head; and, in 
short, I believe that the good cause never found a cham- 
pion less ready to flinch from its defence." 

"And thy name, brave knight?" said Fides, now 
seating himself beside Mm without misgiving. 

"My name is High-Spirit; I am of ancient family; 
I am connected with the noblest in the land !" 



152 GIANT PRIDE. 

All this time the stranger had been speaking in the 
language of the country of Fides; there was something, 
perhaps, a little peculiar in his pronunciation, something 
that was like the accent of a foreigner, not of a native, 
but still he spake fluently and well, and Fides rejoiced 
to think that he had been joined by a connude so 
valiant. 

" I have heard of thy exploits," continued the stranger 
knight, "and have mightily triumphed in thy success. 
Thou wert not the first to attack Giant Untruth* he 
was once sorely woimded by me, and how he escaped 
alive, I wot not !" 

" Not, I trust, by thy holding parley with the foe V* 

" Holding parley with Untruth 1 " exclaimed the 
knight, turning round fiercely; "I would dash out the 
brains of any one who dared but to hint such a thing !" 

Words such as these soimded strange in the ears of 
Fides; in their proud boldness they were so unlike the 
language wont to be spoken by the sei'vants of the 
King, that the warning of Gratitude flashed across his 
mind, and he drew himself a little further off* from his 
comrade. 

" Thy arm is mighty, thy hand strong," Fides said 
aloud, " but the power given to us is not to be employed 
in avenging any insult to ourselves." 

"The power given to us !" repeated the knight, with 
a scornful smile; "the strength with which I fight is 



GIANT PRIDE. 153 

ray own, and," he added, firmly grasping his heavy staff, 
" I use it when, and against whom I please 1" 

"I do misdoubt thee sorely!" cried Fides, springing 
to his feet; "methinks thou art little like a champion of 
the Truth; how shall I know thee for one ?" 

"Speak I not in thine own tongue ?" said the stran- 
ger, also rising, but more slowly, from the earth ; " thou 
art strangely suspicious, my comrade !" 

" Can'st thou read this ?" cried Fides, rapidly drawing 
with his sheathed sword a few words on a spot where 
some white sand had been left by the receding of the 
river. 

"J repent — / ara grateful'' — such were the brief 
sentences hastily traced by Fides, the first that came 
into his mind. He pointed to the writing with his 
sword, and turning his steady gaze upon the stranger, 
repeated his question, "Can'st thou read this?" 

The false knight scarcely glanced at the words which 
he knew that he never could master; with a glare like 
a tiger's ere he springs, whirling his mighty staff round 
his head, he uttered but the exclamation, " Ha ! thou 
knowest me !" and rushed in his fury to the attack. 

Oh, who has not felt the fearful strength of Pride, 
who now engaged in deadly conflict with Fides 1 Never 
had the champion been more sorely beset, never had he 
more felt the need of help ! Even his good sword 
seemed scarcely to avail him here; the giant, who had 



154 GIANT PBIDE. 

suddenly risen to his formidable height as soon as his 
real nature was discovered, parried every blow aimed at 
him so well, showered down his own with such rapidity 
and strength, that foot by foot Fides gave way before 
him ! Strong indeed is the weapon of the Will, few 
are there upon earth who can withstand it ! One crush- 
ing stroke fell upon the helmet of Fides; it gave not 
way, that covering of well-tempered steel, but thfe knight 
reeled and staggered with the blow; sparks seemed to 
fly from his eyes; he could scarcely see the enemy 
before him; for an instant he was blinded by Pride, and 
scarcely conscious of anything but the faint cry of Con- 
science as she fled to seek aid for her champion. 

Down came another blow upon Fides' right arm. It 
dropped numb — the sword fell from his grasp. The 
giant, foaming with rage, pressed on his advantage; he 
dashed his fainting adversary to the ground, and raised 
his heavy staff* to destroy him. At that moment — ^that 
terrible moment — when all appeared lost for ever, a 
stone thrown from some unseen hand struck the strong 
arm which was raised to smite. Pride started at the 
imexpected blow, and for an instant let fall his staff and 
glanced round to see who was his new assailant. 

Precious opportunity that might never come again! 
Fides with his left hand seized the dangerous weapon, 
and even as he lay on the ground, struck the foot of 
Pride with all the force that he could muster. Yet 



GIANT PRIDE. 



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little impression made that blow on the ^ant; it rather 
served to stir up bis rage than to wound him: he 
stooped, not to wrest the Will from Fides, as at that 



156 GIANT PRIDE. 

time he might easily have done, but to make himself 
master of the knights good sword, which lay bright and 
glittering on the turf. 

But the wondrous weapon was not one which could 
be wielded by the unholy hand of Pride ; the golden 
hilt which Fides had rested on so often, burnt the hand 
of the enemy of his King, as though it had been formed 
of red-hot iron. With a cry of pain the giant dropped it 
from his hold, and the next moment it shone in the 
grasp of Fides. 

Yes, the champion of the Truth was again on his feet, 
wounded, weary, but full of courage and hope. The 
painful struggle was coming to a close; thrice and again 
he struck boldly at Pride, and oh, the joy, the relief 
when at last the most dangerous of his foes bit the dust ! 
Every muscle quivering with the efforts which he had 
made, breathless, gasping, scarcely believing his own 
success. Fides stood by the lifeless form of the giant, 
leaning on his own faithful sword ! 

And now he was approached by an old man with 
silvery hah: and a long white beard, but a form still 
strong and unbent^ and a face whose furrows had been 
made rather by thought than time. It was Experi- 
ence himself who, in the hour of need, had come to the 
assistance of the knight, and who had flung that stone 
which, at a critical moment, had diverted the attention 
of the giant. 



GIANT PRIDE. 




Warm waa the gratitude of Fides, though hia falter- 
ing tongue had scarcely power to express it. Expe- 
rience, with kindly pity for the suffering knight, invited 
him to his dwelling, which was near, where rest and 
refreshment might be found, ajid where his Wounds 
would be skiliiilly dressed. 



158 GIANT PBIDE. 

** And oh, leave not that behind, noble knight ! '* cried 
Experience, pointing to the dark, crooked staff of the 
Will, which lay near the dead body of Pride; "take it, 
it once belonged to thy King; it is precious when de- 
voted to him, it is the noblest fruit of thy triumph to 
be able to lay it at his feet." 

Fides obeyed, and with feeble steps followed his new 
guide, whose manner, though grave, and almost stem, 
yet inspired him with confidence and respect. 

The dwelling of Experience was on a hill, which 
commanded a wide prospect around. Part of it was 
divided from the rest, where a glowing furnace, an 
anvil, and various tools hung around, sufficiently showed 
the occupation of its possessor. 

Balm was poured into the bleeding wounds of Fides; 
wine was given to sustain his fainting strength; the 
mist before his eyes cleared away, he felt himself re- 
viving again. 

"Oh, Experience," he said, as he laid his hand on 
the Will, "how can this instrument, once used by Pride, 
be ever an acceptable offering to my King?" 

Experience took from a small casket a phial labelled 
"Submission," which contained a colourless fluid. He 
poured a few drops upon the dark heavy metal, then 
rubbed the staff with a rough hairy cloth, and wherever 
the liquid had touched, there was a spot of bright glitter- 
ing gold ! 



GIANT PRIDE. 169 

" This rough cloth is Discipline," said the old man ; 
" with patience, through its rubbing thou shalt see all 
the value of the Will when restored to its rightful 
owner." 

" Yet can I not offer to my king that which is crooked 
and bent ! It bears too evident tokens of having been 
in. the service of Pride ! " And as Fides spake, he tried 
and tried again with aU his might to straighten the 
massive staif, but the tough metal resisted all his 
efforts ! " 

**The Will is crooked indeed, but it may be 
straightened," said Experience; "we have other ways of 
working. My furnace of Affliction is near." So saying, 
before Fides had time to reply, he plunged the staff into 
the red glowing fire. 

" Give it back ! " exclaimed the knight, with im- 
patience; "any way, any way but this." 

"No way but this," said the old man, firmly, keep- 
ing back the hand that would have snatched it from the 
fire. " See how the gold is brightening, see how the 
metal is softening in the furnace. Submit the Will to 
what is needful to make it perfect^ a precious offering, 
acceptable and pure." 

So saying. Experience drew it from the furnace of 
Affliction, and laid it on the anvil of Trial. He struck 
it with his heavy iron hammer, but was interrupted by 
Fides. 



GIANT FBIDE. 




" No more — thou wilt destroy it ; no more — it in 
enough ! " 

" Not yet," replied the old raan, and struck it again. 

" Stay thy hand ! " exclaimed Fides ; " it can bear no 
more." 

" Yet a little patience," cried Experience, and struck 
it again. Then the Will was restored to Fides — 



GIANT PEIDE. 



161 



straight, pure, beautified ; oh, how unlike that staiT which- 
had been so deadly in the grasp of Pride ! 

Aa Fides stood gazing on the fair gift- before him, 
once more, and for the last time, the shining robe and 




star-wreath of Conscience flashed on his sight Never 
before had her smile been so glad, so beaming with the 
radiance of Heaven. 

11 



162 GIANT PRIDE. 

"The work is done — the fight is over!" she ex- 
claimed; **thou art summoned to the presence of thy 
King! A messenger is even now waiting to conduct 
thee to the home which thou so long hast desired ! 
Go, bearing with thee the offering of a conquered Will, 
the acknowledgment that not even that should be thine 
own, and the remembrance of foes bravely met and 
overcome, through the might of Him who armed thee 
for the fight ! Go in humility, go in joy, confiding in 
the love which hath preserved thee through temptation, 
and never will leave thee nor forsake thee ; go where 
all is gladness, rejoicing and peace — ^where war and 
danger shall be known no more ! " 

" How glad — oh, how glad he must have been!" cried 
Laura, " to be called to his King, and wear the crown, 
and be so happy, and never, never have such fighting 
again ! The messenger must have been very welcome." 

" The messenger must have been Death," observed 
Aleck, gravely ; *' he alone puts an end to that war." 

"I scarcely imderstood that last part about the Will," 
said Bertha, in a hesitating tone. 

"I think that, young as they are," replied Mrs. Roby, 
" my children have already had some experience of the 
power and peril of a strong will which is under the 
command of Pride. To submit that will in all things 
to the Lord, is the highest exercise of Christian faith 



GIANT PRIDE. 163 

and love; and as we are unable of ourselves to change 
our proud and stubborn wills, trials and afflictions are 
often sent to soften our hearts, and purify our affec- 
tions." 

Constantine, who had been a far more attentive 
listener than he had ever appeared before, remained for 
some moments in deep thought, resting his brow on his 
hand. What was passing through his mind it is not 
needful to inquire, but when at length he raised his 
head, he said, " What were those words by which Pride 
was found out, those words which he could not master?" 

"/ repent — / am, grateful" replied Adolphus; "ah, 
Pride could never be brought to say that ! " 

" Then what was the last victory of Fides, must be 
my first," said Constantine, rising from his seat ; and 
flushing up to his temples with the effort which he was 
making, he held out one hand to Aleck and the other 
to Bertha, and pronounced firmly, as if determined to 
overcome the resistance of the giant in his own heart, 
" / repent of my conduct to you ; / am grateful for 
your kindness ; I hope by the future to make up for the 
past ! " 

Great was the astonishment of the children at a 
victory so sudden and unexpected, where they had not 
even been aware that any conflict was going on. 
Warmly, joyfully, Aleck and Bertha pressed the offered 
hand — Adolphus laughed, but not in derision — Laura 



GIANT PRIDE. 




looked up with innocent wonder at the " bad, bad boy," 
standing the conqueror of Pride, like Fides. But a tear 
stood in the eye of her mother ; there was mingled 
prayer and thanksgiving in her heart : thanki^ving — 
that the Holy War had at length been commeaced ; prayer 
—that it might end in triumph everlasting ! 

Dear readers, have you known anything of this War — 
have you ever drawn the sword of Fides, or fought with 
the enemies of your king 1 Have you broken through 
the web of Sloth, straggled out of the pit of Selfishness, 
choked up the fount of Anger, and resolutely thrown 
aside " bitter words " aa unworthy the use of a Chris- 
tian? Have you overcome the feeling of Hate, and 
striven with Benefits to subdue those who have 
wronged you? Have you pursued Untruth even into 



GIANT PRIDE. 1C5 

his most secret lurking-place, and never stoned your 
lips with a falsehood ? Have you tried to conquer your 
own proud rebellious spirit^ and, submitting your Will 
in all things to your Lord, made His service your de- 
light, His glory your aim ? Perhaps you never till now 
thought of looking upon life as the battle-field of the 
Christian; you knew not that your own hearts were 
full of foes that you could not conquer in strength of 
your own. Oh, then, if it be for the first time, ask, 
ask fervently for that grace which can overcome all; 
hold fast your glorious sword — ^the Word of God ; go 
forth with Conscience for your guide, and Prayer for 
your safeguard. And oh, may He who alone can give 
you the victory make you more than conquerors here, 
and crown you with immortality in the eternal mansions 
which He has prepared for those who love Him ! 




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